How MSF is responding?
Conflict between Hamas and Israel has broken out in Gaza, where heavy shelling and airstrikes have destroyed large parts of the Gaza Strip
Decades of repression and conflict, and an Israel-imposed blockade on the Gaza Strip, Palestine, from 2007, exploded on Oct. 7, 2023, as Hamas attacked Israel on a large scale. In response, Israel has launched massive attacks on Gaza.
In Gaza, hospitals and other health facilities have been damaged or destroyed. Israel is imposing a siege on Gaza, with no electricity, food, water or medical items available.
We call for an immediate cessation of the indiscriminate bloodshed and the massive attacks on Gaza. Thousands have been killed and injured. Today, nowhere is safe in Gaza.
What is MSF doing?
- We have supported the four main hospitals in Gaza, including Al Shifa, Al Awda, Nasser, and the Indonesian Hospital, as well as several clinics. Some of these facilities have been damaged by airstrikes.
- We have been treating the wounded since the first hours of the attacks. A large proportion of our patients have been children.
We opened a clinic in downtown Gaza City for people with other injuries.
We dispatched two surgical teams. We reopened an operating room at Al Shifa – Gaza’s main surgical hospital – to provide care to trauma and burns patients.
Our activities are currently very limited. We have extreme difficulties delivering assistance and providing healthcare due to insecurity and the unpredictability of bombardments.
Our team sent 26 tonnes of medical supplies to Egypt, enough to cover the needs for 800 surgical interventions and 20,000 outpatient consultations. The supplies are destined for healthcare facilities in Gaza and are urgently needed.
- Following the unacceptable evacuation order for north Gaza, some of our staff decided to move south. However, others have remained and continue to support lifesaving work at Al Shifa hospital (the main surgical facility in Gaza) as well as Al Nasser hospital in the south. At Al Awda hospital, an MSF team also continues to work in the inpatient department, using the medical stock we had in our warehouse.
- We will send emergency teams if and when we are able to.
- Our logistics teams have delivered essential medical supplies to under-pressure hospitals across Gaza. Currently, we are also supporting local healthcare authorities with donations from our medical stock.
- Due to the huge and uninterrupted influx of wounded people, Al Shifa hospital faced a complete shortage of essential medicines. In response, we made a large donation of supplies, including medicines and equipment.
- Our teams are working hard to prepare cargo shipments of medical and humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza when safe access is guaranteed and open.
MSF wants to be able to access people in need of medical care and offer lifesaving humanitarian services, but to do this we need basic guarantees of safety. We reiterate our calls for sufficient humanitarian assistance and fuel to be allowed into Gaza, including via the Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border, and for healthcare staff and facilities to be protected.
What is MSF calling for?
- an immediate ceasefire that will spare the lives of Gazans and restore the flow of humanitarian assistance on which the survival of the population of Gaza depends.
- lifting the siege to allow increased and continuous humanitarian supplies to cross into Gaza, including essential items such as fuel while ensuring a safe passage to reach people with the greatest needs.
- the protection of civilians and healthcare facilities on both sides, at all times.
- basic guarantees of safety to be able to provide humanitarian and medical services.
How can I donate to Gaza?
We are asking our supporters to consider giving to MSF’s general fund. Unrestricted funding gives us the flexibility to respond quickly wherever and whenever people’s needs are greatest — in situations like the Gaza crisis and in more than 70 other countries globally.
How is the crisis impacting people’s lives?
The situation in Gaza has been described by our teams as ‘horrific’ and ‘catastrophic.’ Hospitals and clinics – the ones that are running – are overwhelmed and are barely functioning, running out of electricity and medical supplies. Surgeons in Al Shifa hospital are now operating without enough anesthetics or painkillers.
Hospitals receive evacuation orders – often with just a couple of hours’ notice – with tough decisions to make. Patients – including those in critical condition – risk their lives either by moving, or by staying behind, in both cases perhaps to die without treatment.
A state of siege has been imposed by the Israeli government on Gaza, including the withholding of food, water, fuel and electricity. They’re deprived of essential needs – water, food, protected shelter, medicines. This is unconscionable. As a result of the blockage, Gaza’s water shortage has now reached a critical threshold. People are drinking salty water.
The bombing of Gaza is relentless. People have been killed while forced to move to look for safety, including family members of our colleagues. People are trapped; those who wish to leave are unable to do so. Nowhere in Gaza is safe.
MSF activities in Gaza are currently very limited. We have extreme difficulties delivering assistance and providing healthcare due to the insecurity and the unpredictability of the bombardments. While some of our colleagues decided to move south following the unacceptable evacuation order of north Gaza, some of our other colleagues have remained in northern Gaza and continue to support in lifesaving activities in Al Shifa Hospital as well in Al Nasser hospital in the south. In Al Awda hospital, a team of seven MSF staff is also working in the MSF inpatient department.
We are also supporting local health authorities with donations from our medical stock. Due to the huge and uninterrupted influx of wounded people since the beginning of the current active conflict, Al Shifa Hospital, the main surgical facility in the Gaza strip, was on the brink of a complete shortage of essential medicines. In response, we recently were finally able to make a large donation of medical stock, including medicines and medical equipment to Al Shifa hospital.
Our staff are working hard on preparing medical and humanitarian supplies to be sent to Gaza when safe access will be guaranteed and open, and we’ll send in emergency teams if and when we’re able to.
MSF is committed to supporting the people affected by the Israeli heavy bombardments and indiscriminate attacks on Gaza. We stand in solidarity with healthcare workers and patients in Gaza. We want to be able to access people in need of medical care and offer lifesaving humanitarian services, but to do this we need basic guarantees of safety.
The West Bank
MSF’s medical and humanitarian activities in the West Bank have been affected by the escalation of violence and the reinforced movement restrictions that have limited people’s access to essential services, including healthcare. To adapt to the situation, MSF medical teams are providing phone consultations for Palestinian residents and displaced people, and referring patients for medical treatment, mental healthcare and social services. MSF mental health teams are also providing psychological first aid, counselling and psychotherapy, mostly remotely. In the West Bank city of Nablus, MSF teams are continuing to provide local people with mental healthcare.
MSF has donated medical supplies, including surgical kits, to Ahli hospital in Hebron, and first aid kits to community focal points in Beit Ummar, Al-Rashaydeh and to the emergency care centre in Um Al-Khair; and provided support including training for staff in Al Mohtaseb Hospital located in Hebron old city. MSF continues to assess the situation in hospitals across the West Bank.
MSF and conflicts
More than one third of our medical and humanitarian assistance is for people affected by armed conflict.
Armed conflict devastates lives. Targeted, harassed and trapped within hardship and poverty, people are often forced into flight. In other cases, people live under siege or in constant fear of indiscriminate or even targeted attacks. In addition, people are often left impoverished without sufficient access to basic needs like food and medical care.
Comprehensive medical and humanitarian support is vital, but health services are often scarce. In conflict zones, we do not take sides.
We provide care based on needs alone, and work to reach those who require medical attention, regardless of which side of the frontline they happen to be.