Hospitals in Gaza Nearing Capacity Amid Scarcity of Essential Supplies as Military Confrontation Looms

by Gabriel Martinez
Gaza humanitarian crisis

Medical professionals in Gaza alerted on Sunday that a humanitarian catastrophe is imminent as hospitals, already burdened with wounded civilians, are critically low on essential resources like fuel. Anticipating an impending Israeli ground invasion, Palestinians in the embattled coastal strip grapple with shortages of food, water, and security.

Israeli troops, reinforced by an increasing presence of U.S. naval vessels in the vicinity, are amassing along Gaza’s border, preparing for what Israel has indicated would be a comprehensive operation aimed at neutralizing the militant organization. A week-long series of devastating airstrikes has not succeeded in halting rocket attacks into Israeli territory.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, since the onset of hostilities, 2,450 Palestinians have died and another 9,200 have been injured—figures that surpass those from the six-week-long 2014 Gaza war. This marks the most lethal conflict involving Gaza for both participating sides.

In an assault on October 7 by Hamas, over 1,400 Israelis lost their lives, the overwhelming majority of whom were civilians. An additional estimated 150 individuals, including minors, were abducted by Hamas. This conflict is also the deadliest for Israel since its 1973 war with Egypt and Syria.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will revisit Israel on Monday after an urgent six-nation tour through Arab states, aimed at preventing the localized conflict from escalating into a wider regional issue.

Clashes on Israel’s border with Lebanon intensified on Sunday as Hezbollah militants launched rocket and anti-tank missile attacks, provoking Israeli counterstrikes and artillery fire. Casualties were reported on both sides.

Rana Sahili, a Hezbollah spokesperson, labeled the increased hostilities as a “warning,” clarifying that Hezbollah’s engagement does not necessarily indicate a commitment to joining the conflict.

With the humanitarian condition in Gaza deteriorating, David Satterfield, a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey with extensive experience in Middle Eastern diplomacy, has been appointed as a special envoy for Middle East humanitarian concerns.

Gaza hospitals are facing an imminent shutdown due to fuel shortages, putting at risk the lives of thousands of patients. Gaza’s lone power plant has already ceased operations due to a lack of fuel, subsequent to Israel sealing off the 25-mile long territory in response to the Hamas attacks.

Medical facilities like Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis are swamped with critically wounded patients, predominantly children under three. Without a replenishment of fuel supplies, the entire healthcare system is in jeopardy, according to Dr. Mohammed Qandeel, a consultant at the hospital.

Despite the acute situation, Israeli authorities have instructed more than one million Palestinians to relocate to the southern part of the territory. The military asserts that this is a preparatory measure for a substantial campaign against Hamas in the northern region, which they claim is riddled with tunnels and other militant infrastructure.

The mass internal displacement and the ongoing blockade by Israel are causing unparalleled humanitarian suffering, warns the World Health Organization. Efforts to reopen the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza for humanitarian aid and evacuation have thus far been unsuccessful.

Amid the dire circumstances, hundreds of relatives of those abducted by Hamas gathered in Tel Aviv, pleading for the safe return of their family members.

Ongoing rocket assaults from Gaza prompted widespread evacuations from the southern Israeli city of Sderot, a frequent target for Hamas rockets. Israeli military action in the southern part of Gaza resulted in the elimination of a high-ranking Hamas official.

Israeli authorities have mobilized approximately 360,000 military reserves and have amassed troops and armor along the Gaza border, although no specific timetable for a ground invasion has been disclosed.

Contributors to this report include reporters from Baghdad and Jerusalem, with additional input from Beirut and Cairo.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gaza humanitarian crisis

What is the current situation in Gaza’s hospitals?

Hospitals in Gaza are critically overwhelmed with patients and are running low on essential supplies such as fuel and medical equipment. According to the Gaza Health Ministry, these facilities are expected to run out of generator fuel within two days, endangering thousands of lives. Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis is one such example, where the intensive care units are filled mostly with children under the age of 3 who have sustained severe injuries.

How many casualties have been reported in the recent conflict?

The Gaza Health Ministry reported that 2,450 Palestinians have been killed and 9,200 wounded since the fighting began. This surpasses the casualty numbers from the 2014 Gaza war, making it the deadliest conflict in the region in recent history. Additionally, more than 1,400 Israelis were killed, the vast majority of them civilians.

What is the role of the U.S. in the current conflict?

The U.S. State Department has announced that Secretary of State Antony Blinken will return to Israel after completing a tour through six Arab nations. The aim is to prevent the fighting from escalating into a broader regional conflict. The U.S. has also appointed David Satterfield as a special envoy for Middle East humanitarian issues to focus on delivering aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

Is there fighting along Israel’s border with other countries?

Yes, fighting has flared up along Israel’s border with Lebanon. Hezbollah militants have fired rockets and an anti-tank missile, prompting Israel to respond with airstrikes and shelling. At least one person has been killed and several wounded on both sides of the border.

What is the international response to the humanitarian crisis?

The United Nations and various aid groups have voiced deep concern over the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. The World Health Organization warned that the evacuation of civilians and a complete siege by Israel could result in untold human suffering. About 500,000 people, almost one quarter of Gaza’s population, have sought refuge in U.N. facilities, where water supplies are dwindling.

What is the status of water and other essential supplies in Gaza?

Gaza was already facing a humanitarian crisis due to shortages of water and medical supplies caused by the Israeli siege. Israel had also cut off water supply, making residents rely on brackish wells. While Israeli officials claim to have restored water at one “specific point,” aid workers in Gaza have not confirmed this.

Are there efforts to broker peace or provide humanitarian aid?

The U.S. is attempting to broker a deal to reopen Egypt’s Rafah crossing with Gaza to allow humanitarian aid to be brought in and Americans and other foreigners to leave. However, the crossing remains closed due to earlier airstrikes.

What is the status of those captured by Hamas?

An estimated 150 Israelis, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza. Relatives of the captured individuals have gathered outside the Israeli Defense Ministry demanding their release, but information remains scarce. Israel has stated that the siege will only be lifted when the captives are returned.

What has been the impact on the civilian population in Gaza?

The Israeli military has ordered more than 1 million Palestinians to move south, causing a mass exodus. Almost half of the territory’s population is being displaced, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees estimates that 1 million people have been displaced in Gaza in a single week.

More about Gaza humanitarian crisis

  • Gaza Health Ministry Statistics
  • U.S. State Department Statements on Middle East
  • United Nations Reports on Gaza Humanitarian Crisis
  • World Health Organization Warnings on Gaza
  • Hezbollah and Israel Border Conflict News
  • U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues
  • Israeli Defense Ministry Statements on Captives
  • U.N. Agency for Palestinian Refugees Updates

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TimJones October 15, 2023 - 10:03 pm

the details about the hospitals really got to me. If the health system shuts down, what’s going to happen to those innocent lives?

EmilyW October 16, 2023 - 12:02 am

The facts about kids being the majority of the wounded in hospitals is just… I have no words. This needs to end.

AnnaSmith October 16, 2023 - 1:44 am

U.S. is sending warships but also appointing a special envoy for humanitarian issues. Mixed signals much?

SarahMills October 16, 2023 - 4:11 am

it’s alarming that more people have been killed in this conflict than the previous Gaza wars. The humanitarian crisis is staggering, to say the least.

RachelG October 16, 2023 - 6:28 am

These numbers are soul-crushing. How many more have to die or get injured before something substantial is done?

RobertK October 16, 2023 - 6:51 am

so many have been displaced within just a week. It’s unimaginable how they’re coping with water and food shortages on top of everything else.

Mike87 October 16, 2023 - 12:58 pm

Why isnt there more international intervention to stop this? The death toll is rising and innocent people are caught in the crossfire.

JohnDoe October 16, 2023 - 1:45 pm

Wow, this is so intense. I cant believe how bad the situation has gotten. Hospitals running out of supplies, and a looming invasion? Its heartbreaking.


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