Gaza – Hospitals are overburdened by the influx of wounded

Donations of medicine and medical supplies have been carried out over the weeendk to two of the main hospitals in the area. Today (29th December) MSF teams are trying to treat people injured by fighting in the Gaza strip helping to relieve the strain on hospitals which are overburdened by the influx of wounded.

Since Saturday the 27th of December, aerial attacks on the Gaza Strip are estimated to have killed 300 people and wounded over a thousand more, including civilians. On Saturday, MSF teams evaluated the needs of the main medical structures in the Gaza Strip, in particular Kemal Edwan hospital in the north and Shifa Hospital, the main referral hospital which was running low on medical supplies. Over the weekend MSF donated medical supplies comprised mostly of bandages, disinfectants and antibiotics for treating wounds and burn injuries. These supplies were taken from a pre-positioned emergency medical stock MSF has in Gaza.

In both Kemal Edwan and Shifa hospitals, medical personnel are overloaded by the influx of wounded, and lack space to be able to deal with all the patients. Yesterday, Sunday the 28th of December, our teams were unable to move around Gaza strip, but today members of our national staff were able to go to the MSF clinic in the town of Gaza. They are trying to treat wounded in order to help hospitals deal with the number of casualties, but the current bombing of Gaza centre may prevent them from doing so. Our teams have not yet been able to go to the MSF pediatric clinic situated close to Kemal Edwan hospital.

A team of three doctors and nurses is working in Shifa hospital, helping with the triage of wounded and using our ambulance to refer cases to the MSF clinic depending on the security situation. The rest of the team will continue to evaluate the needs and adapt their activities accordingly.

Since July 2007, MSF has been providing post operative care and physiotherapy to hundreds of people wounded by fighting in the Gaza strip. In March 2008 a paediatric clinic was opened in Gaza for children under 12 years of age. In Nablus in West Bank, as in Gaza, MSF provides psychological, medical and social support to families touched by violence. The team is composed of 11 international volunteers and 108 local staff members. MSF also has a psychological support programme in Hebron. MSF has been working in Gaza and West Bank since 1988.