Gaza: many injured civilians inaccessible, says hospital director

Monday, January 05, 2009

GAZA CITY — Civilians injured by bombings are stuck in their homes without food and water and are unable to seek medical attention, says the director of an Anglican hospital in Gaza City. Nurses working in the hospital are unable to reach their own injured children at home.

The ACT-supported Al Ahli Arab Hospital has treated more than 100 patients since the onset of the latest conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants. The director of the hospital, Dr. Suhaila Tarazi, has been working sixteen-hour days trying to make the best use of increasingly scarce resources. She shared the following report with ACT:

The situation in Gaza is worsening by the hour. Yesterday we received 17 patients suffering from bombing and shrapnel injuries. Most of the injured were civilians who were sitting in their homes. However, there are even more injured people in areas where they are simply stuck in homes without food, water and electricity -- and we are unable to reach them.

As some injured people do come to the hospital, we treat them and if they are stable then we send them home. We have treated more than 100 patients since the most recent attacks began. And we are currently housing 30 injured patients along with persons rejected from other hospitals. We are a church hospital and so we do not turn anyone away.

441-InjuredchildatAhli.jpgThe hospital is in urgent need of medicine and supplies. There is no electricity in all of Gaza and so we are currently running off of generator power. We have very little supplies left -- enough to last for another week. If this crisis continues, we will be in a very dire situation.

The attacks are also hitting close to our area here in Gaza City. Yesterday, the main square beside the hospital was bombed -- just 30 meters away. The attack left a big crater and injured seven innocent civilians who were just walking on the street.

And the crisis is also affecting the families of our own staff.

Yesterday, one of our nurses, Hania Murad, received a call from her husband while she was working here at the hospital. Her husband was calling for the hospital to send an ambulance to pick up her kids, who had been injured in a bombing. However, their home was located near the American School where are not allowed to go -- even with an ambulance. The Red Cross was also unable to send an ambulance into the area. For eighteen hours her kids sat waiting and injured.

One of Hania’s kids died.

This is the life of our staff. While their hands are working hard to save the lives of many, their hearts are at home with their own kids.