Via ReliefWeb, a report from MSF: Gaza: a population under siege. Excerpt:
The intensity of bombings in the Israeli military operation “Protective Edge” makes it extremely dangerous for the population and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams in Gaza to move around. As of today, hospitals in Gaza are managing to cope with the influx of wounded arriving. However, the new crisis is aggravating an already fragile health system heavily affected by chronic shortages and structural weaknesses.
Ten bombings per hour
An average of ten bombings per hour makes it practically impossible for MSF teams to continue with its regular medical activities and to move around to evaluate where the most urgent needs are. In two days alone there have been more strikes than in eight days of the 2012 military operation Pillar of Defense.
“Rockets fired from Gaza are capable of reaching areas such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa and are a real threat for the Israeli population”, says Tommaso Fabbir, head of mission for MSF in the occupied territories. So far no deaths have been reported on the Israeli side.
In Gaza, health authorities have reported more than 80 deaths, including thirty women and children, and over 600 wounded. On Thursday night, the bombing of one house killed eight people including five children.
“In the first few days, people received an SMS to warn them that an attack on their building was imminent. But today, this does not seems to happen systematically,” says Nicolas Palarus, MSF project coordinator in Gaza.
Unable to reach patients
On Thursday, twelve patients living close to the MSF post-operative clinic were able to go to receive their treatment. But most of the patients who regularly come to the clinic live in the south of Gaza strip, and our teams have been unable to reach them.
Several health structures, including the European hospital, have been damaged by nearby strikes. The streets of Gaza are completely empty as people only leave their homes in case of an urgent need.
'Living under siege'
For Nicolas Palarus, MSF project coordinator, “with only five to eight hours of electricity per day, water shortages and the difficulty of getting hold of basic living supplies, daily life for the population is like living under siege.”
On Thursday, 150 houses were destroyed and the water pipe supplying "Shati camp" was damaged by a nearby strike. The 900 people who lost all their belongings are now being housed by their families and friends.
Only half of ambulances can be used
Due to fuel shortages, only 50% of ambulances are able to circulate. MSF is in daily contact with local health authorities and has visited two hospitals; the Al Shifa hospital in Gaza city and Khan Younis hospital in the south of Gaza strip.
"Even before now, the hospitals in Gaza were suffering from chronic shortages of medicine and disposables. So this crisis is weakening an already precarious system,” warns Nicolas Palarus.