The morgue at Gaza’s biggest hospital is overflowing as Israeli attacks intensify

by Gabriel Martinez
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Gaza hospital crisis

Gaza’s Largest Hospital Struggles Amidst Escalating Israeli Attacks

The major hospital in Gaza witnessed its morgue teeming beyond capacity this past Thursday. As the bodies arrived at an alarming rate, they did so more quickly than family members could retrieve them. This comes amid the sixth day of Israel’s intensified aerial aggression against a population of 2.3 million in Gaza.

The daily Palestinian casualty count is rising due to the relentless Israeli assault, which was a response to an extraordinary attack by Hamas. Medical professionals in the region are at a loss, with no space left to store the remains retrieved from recent bombings or excavated from the rubble of razed structures.

The morgue facility at Gaza City’s Shifa hospital has a storage capacity for only around 30 bodies. Consequently, staff members found themselves placing bodies outside the cooler, with some piled threefold, and placing numerous others in the adjacent parking area. According to Abu Elias Shobaki, a nurse at Shifa, the parking lot now mirrors a burial ground. Shobaki expressed his profound physical and emotional fatigue and his dread of the worsening situation.

A week following the incursion by Hamas militants through Israel’s reinforced separation barrier, resulting in the tragic loss of over 1,200 Israeli lives, Israel contemplates its first land invasion into Gaza in close to ten years. Such a maneuver would likely exacerbate the Palestinian casualties, numbers that have already surpassed those witnessed in the previous four confrontations between Israel and Hamas.

The overwhelming number of mortal remains has strained Gaza’s systems, especially considering the territory’s longstanding blockade. Gaza’s hospitals, typically under-resourced, are now facing even more challenges. Israel has halted its water supply to Gaza and obstructed the entry of electricity, food, and fuel.

Ashraf al-Qidra, representing the Gaza Health Ministry, painted a grim picture of the situation. He highlighted the difficulty in accessing wounded individuals, providing intensive care, and even accommodating the deceased in the morgue. The devastating aftermath of Israel’s counteractions in Gaza is evident in the lines of body bags that depict the tragedy’s magnitude.

Israel’s operations in Gaza have obliterated entire districts, causing over 1,400 casualties, of which the Gaza Health Ministry reports that over 60% were women and children. The offensive has displaced more than 340,000 residents, constituting about 15% of Gaza’s inhabitants.

While the Israeli military maintains that its operations target only Hamas’s militant installations and seeks to minimize civilian casualties, Palestinians vehemently contest this narrative.

The tragic death toll and an estimated 6,000 injuries have burdened Gaza’s medical facilities, which are grappling with dwindling supplies. Mohammad Abu Selim, the head of Shifa, commented on the dire situation, noting that there is a lack of available beds for the patients, leaving many to be treated on the streets.

A recent heavy bombardment on the Shati refugee camp north of Gaza City further aggravated the crisis. Numerous injured individuals, including children, sought medical assistance at the hospital. With Shifa’s intensive care unit at full capacity, many patients were relegated to the hallways.

Compounding the challenges, Gaza’s singular power station depleted its fuel reserves this past Wednesday. Shifa and other medical facilities are rationing the residual diesel for their backup generators, ensuring power only to the most vital departments. The hospital’s director, Abu Selima, anticipates that their fuel reserves will be exhausted in a few days.

Should that transpire, the repercussions would be immediate and catastrophic, warns Naser Bolbol, who oversees the hospital’s nursery. Many life-sustaining devices, such as those providing oxygen to newborns, would cease to function. Hospital administration also raised concerns about their ability to preserve the remains of the deceased without electricity.

Reporting was done by DeBre from Jerusalem and Kullab from Baghdad.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gaza hospital crisis

What caused the overflow at Gaza’s major hospital’s morgue?

The morgue at Gaza’s largest hospital, Shifa, was overflowing due to the rapid influx of bodies resulting from intensified Israeli aerial bombardments, especially on the sixth day of their assault against Gaza.

How did the hospital staff respond to the overflow of bodies?

The hospital’s morgue, designed to store about 30 bodies, reached its limit. Consequently, staff resorted to stacking corpses threefold outside the cooling facilities and placing many side by side in the adjacent parking area.

Why are Gaza’s hospitals struggling with supplies?

Gaza’s hospitals, typically facing resource shortages, are now under even more strain. Israel has stopped its water supply to Gaza and has obstructed the entry of necessities such as electricity, food, and fuel.

What was the reason for Israel’s intensified aerial aggression?

The intensified aerial aggression by Israel came as a response to an extraordinary attack by Hamas militants, who breached Israel’s fortified separation barrier and killed over 1,200 Israelis.

How is the potential ground invasion by Israel significant?

Israel is contemplating its first land invasion into Gaza in nearly ten years. Such a move would likely escalate the Palestinian casualties, numbers that have already surpassed those from previous confrontations between Israel and Hamas.

What challenges are Gaza’s medical facilities facing apart from the overflow of bodies?

Beyond the immediate issue of the overflowing morgue, Gaza’s hospitals grapple with dwindling supplies due to the blockade. Additionally, Gaza’s sole power station ran out of fuel, pushing hospitals to ration backup generator fuel and limit power to essential departments.

More about Gaza hospital crisis

  • Gaza Hospital Crisis
  • Israeli Aerial Bombardments in Gaza
  • Hamas Militant Attacks on Israel
  • Situation of Gaza’s Medical Infrastructure
  • Impact of Blockades on Gaza’s Resources

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