Audio Interview with Jessica Pourraz, Field coordinator of MSF in Gaza

Good evening everybody, just to start with a short presentation, actually we are facing a problem of access, a lack of access for the civilians wounded, for the beneficiaries to reach hospital and health facilities, but also a lack of access for humanitarian people to be able to move safely in the Gaza strip and to be able to reach the wounded and to work properly. This problem of access has been increasing with the beginning of the land incursion. The situation in Gaza, actually we are in Gaza city, it is still very dangerous, there are still heavy bombings, the Gaza strip has been cut in two parts, the Israeli tanks have cut at the level of the south Gaza City, so now it's very, almost impossible to move between the north and the south.

We have tried to open at the beginning of the military operation a clinic but it has been very difficult and for security reason we had to close our clinics and the patients were not moving at all and are still not moving at all, they are stuck at home, only severe patients are brought to the hospital with ambulances but the rest of the patients they are waiting at home until the conflict will end to be able to move safely. Our medical staff, we have actually seven doctors and we have thirteen nurses, all have received some medical kits to be able to provide some medical care, to do some consultations, to give some drugs. These people are living all along the Gaza strip and we have asked them to reach the people who are living around their neighborhood and are in need.  But of course we are asking our medical staff to not take any risks.

We are supporting the hospital since the beginning of the military operation since the first day we have been giving some kits, some supplies, some drugs to Shifa hospital, which is the main hospital of Gaza and to Kamel Edwan hospital and all the ministry hospitals of the strip. We keep monitoring the situation of the hospital and if there is any gap we try to fill these gaps in terms of drugs, dressings, material and we are on the point to receive in the next two or three days a surgery team with specialist vascular surgeon to try to support the hospital of Gaza City because there is a big lack of specialty surgeons and there is also a lack of beds in intensive care unit (ICU), intensive care units, so we are trying to bring in two inflatable tents to be able to set up at least two ICU units and one or two OT, operating theater, to be able to support the hospital in Gaza City.

Actually there are a lot of wounded, there are a lot of casualties, most of the wounded, the severe cases, they are brought to the hospital but it's clear that the medium and the light cases they are not really taken in charge by the hospital because they are already very busy with the severe cases. Every single day there are more and more people injured and people killed and since the beginning of the land incursion there are even more.

Today (7 January) there was three hours without combats, a kind of truce, do you have any specific plan during this short time?

Ok just to be precise, these three hours are only for the Gaza City itself and the Gaza City itself basically is the safest place in all the Gaza strip. You have to know that in the north, in the south and in the middle area the three hours have not been respected at all  and there was still shelling and the tanks shooting in this area, so for us it doesn't change anything, we are not taking in consideration these three hours.

We think that there is a lack of access and we ask that at least the people and the political authorities to respect the humanitarian space to respect the humanitarian NGO and to let us have access to the patients and to let wounded reach the hospital and to respect the civilian. So for us, the three hours it is not really relevant and it doesn't change anything because, the problem actually for example the ambulances are not about to reach the wounded people in the suburb of Gaza city, in the places like Sijaya, Zeïtoun and these places during the famous three hours were still under shelling. So for us this is just not relevant and we ask that NGOs can have access to the people, the wounded people and the wounded people can have access to the hospitals. We ask everybody to respect the humanitarian space.