MSF statement on Rafah evacuation

Aurélie Godard
MSF Medical Team Lead

“Yesterday (May 6), Israeli forces issued an evacuation order for several blocks in eastern Rafah, forcing around 100,000 people to quickly leave the area with nowhere safe to go. Last night there was intense bombing in the eastern areas of the city.  

The impact of an offensive on Rafah will have disastrous effects for over a million people. Living conditions all over Gaza are already extremely precarious, they will just get worse for all these people who are being displaced again and will have to live in makeshift tents with extremely limited access to basic necessities such as water.  

This offensive is also going to further aggravate the damage to the health system, which is barely functioning. Like we saw in the north, some hospitals will no longer be accessible and are at high risk of being hit or destroyed.  We have begun to discharge patients at Rafah Indonesian Field Hospital, those who can walk, as we also prepare for a possible evacuation.  

The few field hospitals or alternative structures being installed will not be able to cope with an influx of wounded patients on top of regular medical needs such as deliveries and chronic diseases. Health needs will increase massively while access to health care will further decrease.  

Currently, providing medical and humanitarian assistance is hugely challenging. An immediate ceasefire is the first step toward beginning to address the immense needs of people in Gaza.  

MSF calls once again for an immediate and sustained ceasefire to spare the lives of civilians and to allow enough desperately needed aid to enter the enclave.”