Chaos and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza – Updates from the ground

2023-11-18 20:27:46

Several decided to stay since they cannot travel, so several doctors treat them.

Patients, staff and refugees left the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital on Saturday, according to health officials, leaving behind only a skeleton crew to care for those too sick to move and the Israeli forces who took over the facility early. of week.

The exodus from the Gaza City hospital coincides with the restoration of internet and telephone service in the enclave after an interruption that had forced the United Nations to suspend the delivery of critical humanitarian aid after being unable to coordinate convoys.

Dozens of people were killed in the Jabaliya refugee camp on Saturday when witnesses said an Israeli airstrike hit a UN shelter in the main fighting zone in the northern Gaza Strip.

The bombing caused massive destruction at the Fakhoura school, Ahmed Radwan and Yassin Sharif said. The men said they survived with minor injuries but dozens of people, including women and children, were unconscious, and others were bleeding.

“The scenes were horrifying. Corpses of women and children on the ground, others screaming for help,” Radwan said by phone.

Israeli forces, who had warned people to leave in Arabic on social media, did not immediately comment. Israeli forces rarely comment on specific bombings, although they always emphasize that they try to strike Hamas targets without harming civilians.

“We are receiving horrifying images of dead and injured people at a school in Unrwa where thousands of people who were displaced in the northern Gaza Strip are staying. These attacks cannot become routine, they must stop. We cannot wait any longer for a humanitarian truce,” Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner general of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, said on X, the platform formerly called Twitter.

Israel continued to expand its offensive in Gaza City and the army warned in an Arabic message on social media that residents of two neighborhoods in the east and north, and the urban Jabaliya refugee camp, should leave the area for their safety.

Military activity would pause briefly to allow their departure, he added. Earlier this week, the Israeli Defense Ministry reported that its troops had completed the operation in the west of the city.

The attacks also continued in the south of the Strip, where an Israeli airstrike hit a residential building on the outskirts of Khan Younis and killed at least 26 Palestinians, according to a doctor at the hospital where the bodies were taken.

The military has been searching the Shifa hospital for clues to the Hamas command center that Israeli authorities say is beneath the hospital complex — something the insurgent group and the center’s staff deny — and urged thousands of people who were still in the complex to leave.

Military authorities indicated on Saturday that the center’s director asked for help so that those who wanted to leave could do so via a safe route. The military said no evacuation was ordered and that medical staff could stay to care for patients who cannot be transported.

But Medhat Abbas, spokesman for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, noted that the army ordered the evacuation of the facilities and gave staff one hour to remove people.

Those who cannot move remain

Later, when it appeared the evacuation was almost complete, Ahmed Mokhallalati, a doctor in Shifa, said on social media that there were about 120 patients who would not be able to leave, including some in intensive care and premature babies, and that he and five others doctors stayed to treat them.

It was not immediately clear where those who evacuated the center had gone as 25 of the territory’s hospitals were not functioning due to lack of fuel, damage and other problems, and another 11 were partially operational, according to the World Health Organization. Health.

Israel has hinted that it plans to expand its campaign to the south while continuing its operations in the north.

In Khan Yunis, the early morning attack on Saturday hit Hamad City, a middle-class development built in recent years with Qatari financing. In addition to the 26 dead, 20 more people were injured, explained Dr. Nehad Taeima at the Nasser hospital.

The Palestinian telecommunications provider said it was able to restart its generators with fuel donated by UNRWA. The end of the blackout saw the return of news and messages from reporters and activists in the besieged enclave to their social media profiles since Friday night.

Gaza’s main power plant closed at the beginning of the war and Israel has cut off electricity supplies. This means that fuel is needed to power the generators that power not only communication networks, but also water treatment plants, sanitation, hospitals and other critical infrastructure.

Israel has banned the entry of fuel since the start of the war, alleging that Hamas could divert it for military purposes. It has also blocked the entry of food, water and other supplies, except for the trickle coming in across the border with Egypt, which aid workers say is far less than necessary.

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