Fuel crisis could force Gaza hospitals to close

Thursday 31 July 2014

31st July 2014 - Families in Gaza are facing a complete collapse of essential services, as electricity and water supplies run out. Health facilities are particularly badly affected, with some hospitals warning that they only have enough fuel to run electricity generators for another four to five days. This could leave nearly one million children trapped in a war zone without access to electricity, water or medical services. 

Save the Children/ Loulou d'Aki.

Baby Hala, born prematurely, lies in her incubator in Al Shifa maternity clinic, Gaza.

She was born in the 33rd week of pregnancy and weighs only 1700 grams.

*name has been changed to protect identity. Photo credit:Save the Children/ Loulou d'Aki. 

At present, following air strikes on Gaza’s sole power plant, residents are receiving electricity for a maximum of two hours a day, if at all. No water supplies are being delivered and sewage pumps are not working, meaning raw sewage is being pumped onto the streets, raising very serious concerns about outbreaks of disease in overcrowded shelters.

 Dr Yousef al-Sweiti, the Director of the Save the Children-supported al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza, says: “At the hospital we have fuel maybe for a week maximum – if it finishes we will have to stop our work. This will really be a disaster, as we’re one of the only hospitals working in this area. If this war continues everything will collapse in Gaza.” 

Health facilities in Gaza have been attacked and are already stretched to the limit as they deal with high numbers of trauma cases, an increase in premature and complicated births and dwindling supplies of medicine.

 Save the Children’s David Hassell says: “The enormous strain being placed on Gaza’s hospitals, doctors and nurses trying to save children’s lives in the most desperate of circumstances, underscores the need for a lasting ceasefire. Humanitarian organisations must be able to supply urgently-needed food, water, medicines and fuel to alleviate the situation for children.”

 “A complete collapse of Gaza’s health system and infrastructure would be catastrophic for children who are already losing their lives at a rate of one every two hours.”

 Save the Children condemns any destruction of civilian infrastructure, including attacks on schools. All parties responsible for attacks on civilians must be held accountable. 

Save the Children is calling on the international community to respond to the ongoing war on children by exerting all its diplomatic influence to bring an immediate end to the bloodshed and to get the warring parties to agree to long-term measures that will stop this senseless cycle of violence, including an end to the blockade.

Save the Children is on the ground in Gaza. To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact: Osama Y. Damo in Gaza +972 (0)59 7911 086,  Osama.Damo@savethechildren.org