Thursday, October 29, 2020

Potential "major crisis" if Gaza hospitals run out of fuel

By Ary Gotlib - February 05, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Health Care] [Gaza Blockade]

The Spokesman for Gaza's health ministry, Ashraf al-Qidra, has warned on January 19 of a "catastrophic situation" due to a lack of fuel provision for hospitals, including ones for children.

Five hospitals are threatened of shut down in Gaza, reported MEE.
The Beit Hanoun hospital, in the north of the besieged Strip, has already stopped providing services due to a lack of fuel needed to operate generators, the health ministry announced on January 17.
"The cessation of vital services at the Beit Hanoun hospital means that 340,000 people are deprived of receiving treatment, surgical procedures and laboratory services, as well as disrupting work in the emergency department," a Ashraf al-Qidra said.
Al-Jazeera reported that the cold weather and the increasing power cuts, lead to higher fuel consumption. On Sunday 20, the stocks of fuel did not amount to more than 17% for each of the 5 hospitals.
Mohammed Abu Salmiyyah, the general director of Al-Rantisi hospital said "we are threatened with losing many lives. We are facing a major cris.”
The human rights group Al Mezanstated that a perturbation of medical care will have “dangerous repercussions” for patients, particularly for 800 kidney patients treated with dialysis machines which need continuous electricity.
It would also disrupt the use of diagnostic devices and the scheduling of surgical operations, putting lives at risk, pointed out the Electronic Intifada.
“The Israeli siege is the root cause of all the humanitarian crises in the Gaza Strip,” Al Mezan’s statement added.
By restricting movement on its border, Egypt also has its share of responsibility in this blockade.
In addition to the important budget cuts in international aid funding, notably the $350 million US cut-off for the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), since early January, the Israeli government has decided to block Qataris financial aid to Gaza.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Israel is conditioning the delivery of Qatari funds to Gaza on the nature of protests along the eastern boundary of the territory.
In the run-up to the Israeli elections in April, a wide-ranging debate has begun within the government whether to allow or not the Qatari funds to enter Gaza.
By donating $15 million over six months, Qatari funds also enable the payment of public sector workers (including hospital) in Gaza, who have not been paid for several weeks.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has calculated that delivery of cash to Gaza would be too politically costly ahead of elections scheduled for April 9.” analyzed the Electronic Intifada.
It should also be noted that in 2017, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to weaken Hamas - the PA's rival movement which governs Gaza - cut the supply of Palestinian Authority (PA) funds for fuel in the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, several hundred people are threatened with death by a power cut.

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