Palestinian officials said a field hospital accompanied by 170 personnel sent by Jordan entered the Gaza Strip yesterday, the first since the war between Israel and Hamas erupted in the first week of October.
Weeks of intense bombardment and acute shortages of fuel and medical supplies have prompted the collapse of Gaza’s health system, with the majority of hospitals no longer functioning. There are around 30,000 wounded people across Gaza, according to the Palestinian territory’s Hamas-run government, which said Sunday that 13,000 had been killed, mostly civilians.
Mohamed Zaqout, director-general of Gaza hospitals, said the field hospital will be established in Khan Yunis, in the south, “to receive the wounded and the sick”.
Hospitals in the area were experiencing “catastrophic” conditions, he said, “with the influx of hundreds of wounded each day and continued aggressive aerial and artillery strikes”.
They could no longer accept sick patients or women who needed to give birth by Caesarean section, he added.
The war broke out when Hamas fighters stormed southern Israel.
The field hospital has a 41-bed capacity, the Jordanian royal palace said, and Aed Yaghi, head of medical aid in Gaza, said it was accompanied by 170 personnel and 40 trucks of medical aid. It would help ease the pressure on existing health services, he said, adding: “The number of medical personnel is limited and there aren’t (enough) ambulances.” Palestinian medics hope field hospitals sent by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar will soon follow.
All goods and individuals entering Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt are subject to Israeli approval.
The head of Gaza’s crossings authority, Hisham Adwan, said six ambulances from Kuwait also entered the territory yesterday. An AFP journalist said the ambulances were taken to Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis.
While hospitals in southern Gaza are overwhelmed, those in the north are now surrounded by fighting.
Health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra described the north as “catastrophic”, with the “sick and wounded are dying from lack of care”.
An aid convoy transporting a Jordanian field hospital is seen parked upon arrival in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, yesterday, after crossing through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.