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Gaza

Gaza Strip: Nearly 30,000 Victims. Will Rafah Become Another Aleppo?

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Attacks on the city of Rafah and the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis are currently the most threatening actions to civilians in the Gaza Strip. In Rafah, a city the size of Polish Suwałki, there are currently up to 1.5 million people. As a result of shelling and bombings, 28,567 Palestinians have already been killed – 70% of them are women and children.

Polish Medical Mission, along with its local partner, the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, is helping civilians in the Gaza Strip. The first tranche of aid financed by donors includes medical supplies, warm clothing, and milk for newborns.

The ongoing phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began with Hamas attacks, resulting in approximately 1,400 deaths and 242 people being abducted. These are primarily Israeli citizens and foreigners. Israeli military actions and the blockade of the Gaza Strip have claimed more Palestinian lives this time. The Gaza Ministry of Health estimated on February 14th that 28,567 people had already died in the enclave. Currently, the most dangerous actions for civilians are the war activities in the vicinity of Rafah, near the border with Egypt. In a city where about 200,000 people lived before the war, there are now estimated to be at least five times more, from 1,000,000 to even 1,500,000 people.

At the beginning of the war, the southern part of the Gaza Strip was supposed to be a safe haven for civilians. After the war moved there, it seemed that Rafah would be the safest. Now civilians have found themselves in a deadly trap, comments Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart from the Polish Medical Mission. If the Israeli army decides on a frontal attack on the city, we may be facing a catastrophe comparable to the siege of Aleppo.

Civilians suffering from the fights and the resulting humanitarian crisis have nowhere to seek treatment. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, only 11 out of 36 hospitals in the enclave are functioning – partially. Before the war, these hospitals had 3,500 beds for patients, now – with much greater needs – there are only 1,400. Therefore, patients often lie on the floor or on mere mattresses. The dire conditions in medical facilities are an additional threat to their health. Currently, the Nasser Hospital is under siege, where, in addition to 450 patients, about 10,000 refugees have found shelter. In recent days, two WHO missions have not been allowed into the hospital.

Every cutoff of hospital supplies is a threat to the lives and health of patients, adds Małgorzata Olasińska-Chart. We hear reports of shots fired on the hospital grounds, of the hospital wall being destroyed. Innocent people are dying there.

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