News / Middle East

Health Disaster Looms as Gaza Struggles to Treat Wounded

Health Disaster Looms as Gaza Struggles to Treat Woundedi
X
Scott Bobb
August 06, 2014 6:29 PM
The United Nations has warned that Gaza faces a health disaster, following the four-week long conflict with Israel that began with an Israeli operation to destroy Hamas rockets and infiltration tunnels. Many hospitals and clinics were damaged in the fighting. All are overwhelmed with wounded. VOA’s Scott Bobb visited al-Shifa Hospital shortly before the latest cease-fire went into effect and has this report.
Scott Bobb

The United Nations has warned that Gaza faces a health disaster, following the four-week long conflict with Israel that began with an Israeli operation to destroy Hamas rockets and infiltration tunnels.  Many hospitals and clinics were damaged in the fighting.  All are overwhelmed with wounded, including Gaza's largest hospital, al-Shifa.
   
Officials say al-Shifa now treats only the wounded from the conflict.  Routine illnesses and surgeries are referred to other facilities.
 
Wounded lie in beds in departments once dedicated to gynecology and internal medicine. Some wait on gurneys in the hallways, others on the floor.
 
The pediatric ward is full.  One girl was hit by shrapnel from a shell.  Her mother, Om Suhair Khalifa, says her sister and two brothers are in critical condition in intensive care.
 
"Their father asked them to sleep next to us.  But they refused.  They wanted to sleep with their dolls.  We worried all night.  Suddenly we heard something land on our house.  We thought it had happened to our neighbors.  Then we saw smoke everywhere," recalls Khalifa.
 
Student nurse Ragda Samour has been volunteering at the hospital since the conflict began.  She works two eight-hour shifts a day, like everybody else.
 
“The majority of the cases have head injuries, brain damage.  Others have amputated hands or legs.  We have martyrs [reference to the dead],  God have mercy on them.  But the injuries are very, very hard to bear,” says Samour.
 
Some of the wounded are being sent home early. There are not enough beds, supplies or staff, says pediatrician Basel Baker.
 
"But this is not the biggest part of our suffering.  The biggest part is the psychological part.  We see children.  We see babies with injuries, totally disabled.  Those who live will be disabled.  It's a disaster.  You can't [bear] to see…," says Baker.
 
The United Nations says one-third of Gaza’s hospitals and clinics have been damaged.  A dozen health workers have been killed or wounded in the conflict.
 
As a result, humanitarian groups say Gaza’s medical system will need outside support for a very long time.

You May Like

Photogallery Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid