Gaza’s hospital chief warned on Sunday that medics are facing multiple crises amid deadly violence between Palestinian militants and Israel, with medicine and electricity urgently needed to continue treating patients.
Muhammad Abu Salmiya said wounded were arriving “every minute” at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.
“There is a crisis in medicine, a crisis in medicines, a crisis in electricity,” said Salmia, the hospital’s general director.
Thirty-one Gazans have been killed and 275 wounded in fighting since Friday, when Israel shelled Islamic Jihad positions and the armed group retaliated by firing rockets across the border.
Gaza’s only power plant shut down on Saturday due to a lack of fuel, four days after Israel closed its crossings with the territory for security reasons.
“The situation is very bad,” said Salmia. “We urgently need to open the borders to bring in drugs, (fuel for) electricity.”
Diesel for the power plant is usually trucked in from Egypt or Israel, which has maintained a blockade of the enclave since Hamas militants took control of Gaza in 2007.
Gaza’s Ministry of Health predicts that a power outage will halt medical services on Tuesday afternoon as generators run out of fuel.
Potentially life-saving facilities, such as operating rooms and ventilators in hospitals, require electricity to keep running.
There are also fears that fuel shortages in the Palestinian territory could affect ambulances, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA said.
A spokesman for the Israeli military said there was “deep concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza”.
According to OCHA, the enclave’s 2.3 million residents experience regular power outages, with only 11 hours a day on average last month.
The UN agency warned on Saturday that without an increase in electricity, Gaza would soon see “a reduction in its water supply from wells and desalination plants”.
Ahad Ferwana, a resident of Gaza, said people get sick when the water supply is cut off.
The blackout “affects all areas of life in the Gaza Strip,” he said AFP.
“This is disrupting people’s lives, especially with the intense heat that has hit the region,” he said.
“It forces people to leave their homes, which puts their lives at risk because of the continuous bombardment.”
© Agence France-Presse