Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is alarmed that four hospitals in Gaza have stopped working due to the deepening fuel shortage there. The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza yesterday told MAP and other health and humanitarian organisations that it has been forced to close Abu Yousef Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah, Beit Hanoun Hospital, and Al Dorra Pediatric Hospital and the Mental Health Hospital, both in Gaza city. The move followed the announcement of a breakdown in the existing agreements for the purchasing of fuel from Israel by the Palestinian Authority.
Cuts to x-rays, specialist scans, sterilization and other services had been made previously, as MAP reported last week, and further cuts are highly likely. Primary health care clinics currently remain open but without recourse to expensive-to-run generators.
All patients are now being affected but we fear mostly for anyone needing emergency or intensive care, dialysis and new-born babies” said Fikr Shalltoot, MAP’s Director of Programmes in Gaza.
These hospitals are our only option for life-saving treatment, due to the blockade and closure. Unless this crisis is resolved immediately we will start to see widespread and severe deterioration in patient health and in all health services.”
OCHA announced yesterday that it had secured emergency funding to help support essential services, but called upon the Israeli and Palestinian authorities as well as the international community to protect the provision of critical, basic services to people in Gaza.
Gaza is virtually cut off from the outside world after 10 years of blockade and closure, a form of collective punishment contrary to international law which has devastated its already poor living conditions . At 42% its unemployment rate is among the highest worldwide and 80 percent of people are dependent on some form of aid.
Aimee Shalan, CEO of MAP urged immediate action: “An entirely avoidable humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Gaza. The international community cannot stand idly by and watch people die as hospitals grind to a halt for lack of fuel.”