GAZA, Palestinian Territories — Since the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teenagers last month by the terrorist organization Hamas, tensions between Israel and Gaza have skyrocketed.
Israel has retaliated this week by launching missiles into the Palestinian territories, killing over 120 Palestinians, many women and children, and injuring over 800.
Residence are warned before the bombings, but the attacks still overwhelm local hospitals in Gaza, which are unable to effectively treat the inundation of patients.
Emergency rooms across the territory are crowded, and patients have resorted to sleeping on hospital floors. In Al-Shifa hospital, the central medical center in Gaza, all 12 beds in the intensive care unit are being used.
Gaza launched numerous missiles into Israel during the following week as well.
The most devastating part of the medical crisis in Gaza, however, may be the lack of supplies. According to Ashraf al-Qedra, Gaza’s Health Ministry spokesman, the dearth of medication is already a serious concern.
“Gaza is completely missing about 30 percent of essential drugs,” al-Qedra said.
The numbers of medicines, gloves, urine catheters and other medical supplies are dwindling. Medical sources in Gaza liken the dire situation to the chaos in hospitals during the Syrian civil war.
Fuel shortages have further limited what medical treatment Palestinians have access to. Only half of the ambulances have enough fuel to run, and hospital lights may fail within the next few days as generators give out. This puts patients who rely on incubators, dialysis machines and other lifesaving equipment at especial risk.
As violence continues to devastate Israel and the Gaza Strip, there is a beacon of hope for a potential peace: many injured Palestinians are being treated in Israeli hospitals, despite the airstrikes on both sides.
– Adam Kaminski
Sources: Al Jazeera, CNN, The New York Times
Photo: Future Challenges