Hospitals in the Gaza strip are set to run out of power and go “dark”, possibly within days, as fuel in the besieged enclave runs out with Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital already plunged into darkness yesterday.
News of the impending power outage in Gaza’s health centres comes after the Israeli government has blockaded and heavily bombed the densely populated area, allowing some aid in but preventing fuel from entering Gaza’s boundaries.
While continuing to call for the bombing to stop to prevent further loss of life, Islamic Relief is also calling on the Israeli government and the international community to ensure fuel supplies can now begin entering the Gaza strip. Fuel is desperately needed to prevent power outages in the health system, which will inevitably be fatal for some Palestinians.
The aid convoys carrying fuel must be allowed into Gaza without delay to prevent hospital generators, lights and essential medical equipment from shutting down and to enable vital water desalination plants to start operating again.
The hospitals in Gaza have already been inundated with a report comparing the inside of a hospital to a “slaughterhouse” amid the Israeli aerial bombardment, with surfaces stained with blood. Some patients are being treated on the floor because there aren’t enough beds for the wounded, and some surgeons are operating without anaesthetic because supplies have run out.
The death toll in Gaza since Israel’s bombing began on 7 October has now reached over 5,000 people, 2,000 of whom are children. Over 15,000 have been wounded, overwhelming Gaza’s already stretched hospitals.
“The consequences of these hospitals losing power are beyond anything a person with an ounce of humanity wants to imagine. The medical staff there are already doing heroic work remaining in these hospitals despite Israeli military orders demanding that they evacuate,” an Islamic Relief spokesperson said.
“It’s a step in the right direction that Israel is allowing a small number of aid trucks to enter Gaza. The UN says a regular, unimpeded, continuous flow of 100 or more trucks a day is needed to meet the immense humanitarian needs on the ground. It is so cruel to starve Gaza of the fuel it needs to produce safe drinking water and treat mounting numbers of injured people.
“Of course the bombing itself is the cruellest action of all and must also stop.”
Airstrikes have not only exacted a high death toll but have also caused severe injuries among the wounded, which are challenging for doctors to deal with. These include severe burns and multiple wounds from shrapnel, masonry and glass from buildings that have become embedded in patients.
Doctors say that babies born so prematurely that they need electrically powered incubators to stay alive are in “grave danger” because of the fuel shortage.
Fuel is also desperately needed to enable bakeries in Gaza to continue baking bread for hungry people driven from their homes by the bombardment and to enable displaced Palestinians to keep their phones charged so that they can communicate with family members in the frightening situation they face.
An Islamic Relief staff member in Gaza said, “I’ve learned most of the bakeries have stopped working now because they do not have gas for running their ovens…People in Gaza are being targeted from air, land and sea and left to starve while the world is just watching.”
“Know that every taking of a breath is becoming harder and harder and we can’t secure our basic needs. I am able to write these words now, but I might not be able to in the future. Please remember me and my story because it might be the end.”