MAP hopes for the best but prepares for worst amid dangerous Gaza escalation

[Update, Thursday 14 November]: According to the Ministry of Health, 34 Palestinians have been killed and at least 109 injured in the escalation. A ceasefire began this morning. 

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) is extremely concerned by the escalation in Gaza and is reacting fast to support hospitals to treat casualties amid the deteriorating security situation.

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, 23 Palestinians have so far been killed, including three children, and at least 70 injured, including 30 children, in the escalation which began on 12 November. In the early hours of Tuesday morning an Israeli airstrike killed a senior commander of militant group Islamic Jihad and his wife. Since then, Israeli airstrikes and rocket fire from Gaza have been ongoing.

Fikr Shalltoot, MAP’s Director of Programmes in Gaza, said: “The situation in Gaza has significantly deteriorated again this morning. Explosions can be heard all over Gaza. Once again, we are experiencing a situation very similar to the 2014 Gaza attacks.”

The attacks come amid chronic shortages of medical supplies in Gaza’s health sector. More than 46% of essential drugs and 28% of medical disposables are at zero stock, meaning there is less than one month’s supply on the shelves.

MAP is directly responding, and helping emergency departments treat the critically injured through the provision of essential medical supplies. These medicines, including pain killers, IV fluids, antibiotics and anaesthetic agents, are expected to reach 15,000 patients in Gaza. MAP’s support to Gaza’s Central Blood Bank is even more critical for those suffering from heavy bleeding.

Aimee Shalan, Chief Executive of MAP, said: “We have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. MAP is doing all it can to support hospital treating casualties in Gaza and calls on all actors, and the international community, to support a swift de-escalation and return to calm.”

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Background information

Even before the current emergency, hospitals in Gaza were already overwhelmed by mass trauma casualties from the ongoing “Great March of Return” protests, which began in Gaza in March 2018. More than 210 Palestinians have been killed and 33,000 injured by Israeli forces at the weekly demonstrations.

MAP is supporting Gaza’s health service to effectively respond to emergencies. Since the 2014 Israeli military offensive on Gaza, MAP has been working with local doctors and key partners to build capacity in emergency departments, trauma teams, limb reconstruction and neurosurgery to ensure hospitals are prepared in similar emergencies.

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