Operational update on Gaza: More medical supplies on the way

16 May 2018
Operational update on Gaza: More medical supplies on the way
Shifa Hospital alone is now trying to manage some 400 wounded. ©ICRC/Alyona Synenko

An update from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the situation in Gaza.

  • The ICRC is alarmed over the human toll of the ongoing violence. The many deaths and injuries demonstrate the importance for all sides to take all possible precautions to minimize exposure of the civilian population to harm.
  • Today the challenge for tired, overworked medical staff is to deal with the non-life threatening injuries after prioritizing emergency cases on Monday. If another bout of massive violence occurs, medical staff fear they will not have the supplies – or stamina -- to treat those in need. The ICRC is concerned about the logistical capacity of medical facilities in Gaza to respond to such mass casualty situations.
  • The ICRC this week donated a large array of medical supplies, including foldable stretchers, wheelchairs, crutches, body bags, and large medical kits to help with surgeries and severely wounded patients. Since March 30, the ICRC has donated enough medical equipment to treat around 600 complex surgical patients and some 6,000 injured people.
  • More medical supplies are on the way. On Sunday, two trucks delivered to our warehouses medical supplies sufficient to treat some 500 complex surgical cases and 15,000 injured people. They will be delivered to medical facilities soon.
  • Authorities and individuals must ensure that ambulances get safe, immediate and unimpeded access to provide medical treatment, evacuate the wounded or collect persons who are killed. All medical personnel must abide by the core humanitarian principles of neutrality and independence.
  • The ICRC is speaking confidentially with all sides to encourage everyone to act in accordance with international obligations and to preserve a humanitarian space.
  • “The human toll of the violence in the border areas has been overwhelming. Hospitals and medical personnel could barely cope with the massive influx of severely wounded people. The medical system and personnel, already under strain prior to the violence, is struggling to respond to the needs,” said Guislain Defurne, the head of ICRC’s office in Gaza.
  • “In the case there are more injuries, how are we going to take care of them? Doctors are overworked, nurses are overworked, and we are running out of supplies,” said Dr. Srihari Cattamanchi, an ICRC doctor in Gaza.

For further information, please contact:

Suhair Zakkout (Arabic and English), ICRC Gaza, tel: +972 59 92 55 381
Tamar Abu Hanna (Arabic, English), ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 9148
Yehonatan Saban (Hebrew, English) ICRC Tel Aviv, tel: + 972 52 275 7517
Alyona Synenko ( English, French, Spanish, Russian) ICRC Jerusalem, tel: +972 52 601 9150