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Healthcare Crisis Escalates In Gaza’s Rafah Amid Israeli Military Action

Medical facilities in Rafah are overwhelmed by an influx of patients due to Israeli military’s operation against Hamas.

With over a million residents sheltering in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, medical facilities are overwhelmed and people are at risk of being deprived of healthcare as the Israeli military conducts a “limited” operation against Hamas.

Abu Youssef al-Najjar, the largest hospital in Rafah, had to be evacuated abruptly after nearby fighting prompted a swift evacuation order.

Access to critical medical services is further hampered by the closure of border crossings, including the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis. This closure disrupts referrals for surgeries, exacerbating an already dire situation.

The Emirati maternity hospital in Rafah and the Kuwaiti Specialist hospital are grappling with the influx of patients. The Kuwaiti hospital, ill-equipped and understaffed even before the conflict, struggles to provide adequate care amid the surge in emergency cases. Emirati, on the other hand, are delivering dozens of babies every day.

Dr. Jamal al-Hams, director of the Kuwaiti hospital, describes the situation as “catastrophic.” The hospital is a small one and lacks diagnostic capabilities as well as essential equipment, a result of Israeli shelling and closed border crossings.

The injuries treated by medical staff are severe and unprecedented, with cases ranging from complex trauma wounds to amputations. The unique nature of these injuries poses new challenges for medical professionals already stretched thin.

“We have received some cases of torn abdomen and intestines and cases of skull fractures with parts of the brain inside the skull. Some cases have lost major parts of the buttocks, in addition to cases of amputation of the lower limbs at the foot area”, Dr Hams said.

He added, “These are unusual injuries caused by unusual weapons. Each case needs several specialists.”

He expressed anger at how doctors at al-Najjar hospital had been forced to evacuate both the facility and their homes at a short notice. “Where should they go”, Dr Hams questioned.

The forced evacuation of medical personnel and residents from eastern Rafah compounds the crisis. While the Israeli military directed residents to designated “humanitarian areas,” the promised aid and support fail to materialize, leaving evacuees stranded without assistance.

Melissa Enoch

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