THE Anglican hospital in Gaza has launched an appeal for funds and equipment to help it to cope with the mounting casualties from weeks of violence along the Gaza-Israel border.
More than 110 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli snipers after weeks of protests by thousands of Palestinians along the border (News, 18 May). Most of those who have died were aged between 20 and 35 years old, the hospital reports, but three were less than eight months old. More than 2000 children have been injured.
A statement from the Al Ahli Arab Hospital said that it was one of the few hospitals in Gaza City which can address “catastophic orthopaedic injuries incurred from live ammunition gunshots”.
On Tuesday, Israel launched air strikes on militant sites in Gaza, after coming under the heaviest barrage of mortar and rocket fire for years. In Israel, mortar fire hit an empty kindergarten, though there were no reports of casualties after the strikes.
Speaking to the Anglican Alliance, which is helping to co-ordinate the response to the emergency appeal, the director of the hospital, Suhaila Tarazi, described the situation as “critical”. She said that “the death toll in Gaza continues to rise,” and the hospital needed to “obtain emergency medicine, medical supplies, and fuel for generators. Ahli needs to support doctors and nurses who are working non-stop to meet the crushing flow of the injured and traumatised.”
Ms Tarazi said that the hospital, as a humanitarian organisation of the Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, treats all who come to it, regardless of race or faith.
The hospital has opened a new ward, and hired extra doctors and nurses. It says that it is receiving an average of eight new patients for operations each day; 12 more for shrapnel wounds; and eight children for rubber-bullet wounds and tear-gas inhalation. Consultants have flown in from all over the world to offer support with plastic surgery and reconstruction procedures. Money is needed, the hospital says, to bring in more emergency staff and pay for more fuel to run its generators: hospitals in Gaza have only two to three hours’ electricity each day from the grid.
The hospital also provides counselling for children who have seen family members killed or seriously injured.
The Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, the Most Revd Suheil Dawani, said: “Our Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza had been literally working around the clock to serve the wounded from the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip, ever since the United States formally opened its embassy in Jerusalem on 14 May.
“The wounded coming to our hospital have no money, but no one is ever turned away. Most of the men, women, and children who are treated have been injured from live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear-gas intoxication.
“I appeal to all our friends around the world to give generously.”