Gaza: MSF clinic in Gaza city came under fire

Earlier today an Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) outpatient burn clinic in Gaza city came under fire – this is one of the three MSF buildings where our staff has been sheltering with their families. We had over 20 people, our staff and family members, inside when it happened.

The MSF clinic in Gaza City came under fire this morning: our colleagues saw that a wall was torn down and part of the building was engulfed by fire as heavy fighting took place all around it. An Israeli tank was seen in the street.

Four MSF cars burned down. A fifth car was parked across the street and broken in two pieces as if crushed by a heavy-duty vehicle or a tank. All the cars and the clinic were clearly identified with MSF logos.

An MSF staff and 20 family members are in the clinic and in extreme danger, we don’t know their status. We urgently call for a stop to the fighting in the area. Over 50 other people, including MSF staff, are in nearby buildings, with a wounded person needing medical attention.

The cars destroyed are the same that were used to attempt the aborted evacuation of MSF staff and their families on Nov. 18, resulting in the killing of one of their family members. They were the only means of transport they had to facilitate their evacuation.

About MSF in Palestine

The information about our response, below, is correct as of Nov. 9, 2023.

MSF activities in Gaza are currently very limited. We have extreme difficulties delivering aid 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.