Medical Facilities in Gaza on the Brink as Essential Supplies Diminish

by Madison Thomas
Gaza Crisis

On Monday, Gaza’s healthcare institutions were pushed to the edge of operational collapse as the region’s water, electricity, and medicinal stockpiles neared exhaustion. As Israel continued its relentless aerial bombardments in response to previous Hamas attacks, a vast number of Palestinians scrambled for increasingly scarce food resources. The dire state of healthcare places the lives of thousands of patients in jeopardy, according to officials from the United Nations, while efforts to negotiate a cease-fire and facilitate aid from the Egyptian border remain unfruitful.

Over a week has passed since Israel ceased allowing supplies into Gaza. Attention is now focused on the Rafah border crossing, Gaza’s sole point of connection with Egypt. Aid-laden trucks have been stalled for days, awaiting permission to enter. Israeli airstrikes led to the crossing’s closure last week, and no agreement to reopen it has been made. Both Egyptian state television and media outlets in Gaza confirmed additional Israeli airstrikes on the crossing on Monday.

As Israel readies for a potential ground incursion into Gaza—a move that would involve perilous urban combat—concerns are mounting over the conflict’s possible expansion. Israeli authorities have evacuated towns adjacent to the northern border with Lebanon, a region where clashes with the Iranian-supported Hezbollah have occurred multiple times.

In an address to the Israeli Parliament, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stern warning to Iran and Hezbollah: “Refrain from testing our resolve in the northern region. Missteps akin to those made in the past will have far graver consequences today.” He was referring to the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, which is primarily based in Lebanon.

Shortly after the Prime Minister’s remarks, the Israeli Parliament was evacuated due to rocket attacks aimed at Jerusalem, which have been consistently launched from Gaza. These attacks have even disrupted meetings between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s Defense Minister.

This conflict has become the most devastating of the five Gaza wars to date, with casualties reaching unprecedented levels. Gaza’s Health Ministry reports at least 2,778 deaths and 9,700 injuries, while Israel has suffered over 1,400 fatalities—most of them civilians—since Hamas’ assault on October 7. Israeli military sources indicate that the number of hostages taken into Gaza is higher than previously assumed, now estimated at 199.

With air raids laying waste to residential areas, scarcity of essential supplies, and the mass exodus of civilians from northern Gaza, the 2.3 million inhabitants of the region are in a state of increasing chaos and desperation. Over one million people have been displaced, and around 60% have taken refuge in a strip of land approximately 14 kilometers long to the south of the evacuation zone, as per U.N. data.

Israel contends that its military actions, including the evacuation orders, are geared toward safeguarding civilians in anticipation of a significant operation against Hamas in northern Gaza. However, those evacuating from the north continue to face aerial bombardments in the southern regions.

The United Nations has highlighted the impending healthcare catastrophe, stating that hospitals are expected to exhaust their generator fuel within the next 24 hours. This will render life-sustaining medical equipment inoperative.

Amidst the crisis, the international community is showing increased concern. U.S. President Joe Biden is contemplating a visit to Israel, though plans remain tentative. Meanwhile, the U.S. government has initiated the evacuation of approximately 2,500 American citizens from Israel to Cyprus.

With the intensification of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah in the north, Israel has ordered residents to evacuate 28 communities located within a 2-kilometer range of the Lebanese border. Israeli military presence continues to escalate along the Gaza border, supported by a significant number of U.S. naval vessels in the region and a mobilization of roughly 360,000 reservists.

As the international community watches, efforts to bring about a cease-fire and provide essential humanitarian assistance remain at an impasse, exacerbating an already dire situation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gaza Crisis

What is the current state of hospitals in Gaza?

Hospitals in Gaza are on the verge of collapse as they face acute shortages of water, power, and medicine. The United Nations has indicated that thousands of patients’ lives are at risk.

Why are supplies not reaching Gaza?

More than a week after Israel halted the entry of any supplies into Gaza, trucks with aid have been waiting at the Rafah crossing, the territory’s only connection to Egypt. Israel has not agreed to reopen it for aid, and reports indicate that it has struck the crossing again.

What actions is Israel taking in preparation for further conflict?

Israel is preparing for a likely ground offensive into Gaza, which would result in deadly house-to-house fighting. They have also evacuated towns near their northern border with Lebanon due to exchanges of fire with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group.

How has the international community responded?

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with Israel’s defense minister, and President Joe Biden is considering a trip to Israel. Efforts are underway to negotiate a ceasefire, but nothing has been finalized yet.

What is the human toll on both sides?

This conflict has become the deadliest of the five Gaza wars for both sides. At least 2,778 people have been killed and 9,700 wounded in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry there. Over 1,400 Israelis have also been killed, mostly civilians.

What is the situation for displaced people in Gaza?

Over 1 million people have fled their homes in Gaza, and 60% of them are now in a roughly 14-kilometer-long area south of the evacuation zone. More than 400,000 displaced people are crowding into U.N. facilities, but supplies are not available.

What is the stance of Hamas and Israel regarding evacuation orders?

Hamas has urged people to ignore Israel’s evacuation orders. Israel claims that Hamas has set up roadblocks to prevent people from moving south for their safety.

Are medical professionals staying in the conflict zones?

Yes, many doctors and hospital staff have decided not to evacuate, stating that doing so would result in death for critically ill patients and newborns who rely on life-supporting equipment.

What are the conditions for lifting the siege as per Israel?

Israel has stated that the siege will not be lifted until all captives are released by Hamas.

How are citizens of other countries affected?

The U.S. government has begun evacuating some 2,500 American citizens from Israel to Cyprus. Meanwhile, Palestinians with dual citizenship are anxiously waiting at the Rafah crossing for a chance to leave.

More about Gaza Crisis

  • United Nations Reports on Gaza Crisis
  • Israeli Government Statements on Gaza Conflict
  • Rafah Crossing and Humanitarian Aid
  • U.S. State Department on Gaza-Israel Conflict
  • World Health Organization on Gaza’s Medical Crisis
  • Hezbollah-Israel Exchanges in Northern Border
  • Doctors Without Borders’ Account in Gaza
  • Casualty Figures from Gaza’s Health Ministry
  • Interview with President Joe Biden on Israel-Gaza Conflict
  • Evacuation of American Citizens from Israel

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KatieQ October 16, 2023 - 10:11 pm

So Biden is considering a trip to Israel but what’s the plan? Things need to change and fast.

Ella_J October 17, 2023 - 1:08 am

Its just heartbreaking, especially thinking about the medical staff who decided to stay behind. They’re out of painkillers? this is a catastrophe.

William_92 October 17, 2023 - 1:33 am

What’s happening at Rafah crossing? Aid is stuck there? why can’t they find a way to let it thru?

John_K October 17, 2023 - 3:42 am

The UN needs to step up big time. This can’t continue. People are suffering, politics aside something’s gotta give.

Mike T. October 17, 2023 - 11:44 am

Man, this is just horrible on all sides. why can’t leaders find a way to end this, lives are at stake.

SarahD October 17, 2023 - 1:46 pm

I can’t even imagine what people in Gaza are going thru right now. The hospitals are running out of supplies and theres no end in sight?


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