Un palestinien tient le corps de son enfant mort, enveloppé dans un linceul - Photo : Abedelhakim Abu Riash/Al Jazeera

Gaza: dozens of families massacred in Israeli bombings

The Gaza Ministry of Health announces that more than 55 Palestinian families have been massacred by “Israel” since the start of the attack on the blockaded territory.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, described the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip as “genocide against Gaza, in full view of the whole world, which continues to sit idly by.”

He also indicated that in the last eight days, since the beginning of the aggression last Saturday, more than 55 Palestinian families simply no longer exist, because they were massacred by the Israeli occupation.

Regarding the situation in the Gaza Strip in the context of the war crimes of occupation and targeting of civilian buildings and hospitals, Mr. Al-Qedra indicated that the medical teams “ will not respond to Israeli threats to evacuate hospitals; they made the decision to continue working. They will remain there and continue to fulfill their mission without evacuating the hospitals, even if they were to be razed above our heads.”

The Health Ministry spokesperson also asked the Jordanian field hospital not to leave the Gaza Strip and demanded that the international community work to evacuate the sick and injured through a safe corridor to that they be treated outside the besieged territory.

He also insisted that the international community act to allow the evacuation of the sick and wounded through a safe corridor, so that they can be treated outside the Gaza Strip.

40% of the injured at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza are children

Among all these children, a five-year-old boy suffered from crush injuries, another nine-year-old from facial burns and another fourteen-year-old from a serious open skull fracture.

Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah, a British surgeon who recently arrived in the Gaza Strip to help with humanitarian efforts, said he had never seen “anything like this absolute devastation” he witnessed over the past 72 years. last hours in Al-Gaza Al-Shifaa hospital, reported The Independent Wednesday.

“It’s like a tsunami of wounded,” Dr Abu-Sittah told the newspaper from Gaza’s largest hospital and medical complex, Al-Shifa.

The announcement follows UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ statement that humanitarian conditions would “deteriorate exponentially” following Israel’s imposition of a total blockade on a region suffering from it. already one for sixteen years.

Dr Abu-Sittah, a plastic surgeon, is also a lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. He notes that medical staff in Al-Shifa are overwhelmed by the influx of injured children, deaths and the serious shortage of medical equipment.

“As always with the war in Gaza, the percentage of children is much higher than in other conflicts because they are targeted in their homes,” Dr. Abu-Sittah said, adding that the population of Gaza has an average age of 18 and that youth is evident in the patient demographics, with children making up up to 40% of the more than 650 people treated (to date) at the hospital.

“Too shocked to speak”

It recounts the case of a 14-year-old girl who suffered extensive burns, covering 70 percent of her body, including her face, from explosions and chemicals used in Israeli weaponry. “She is unrecognizable. Burns are the most common injuries. But we also see a lot of injuries from explosions and shrapnel,” he said.

“The boy who suffered from a compound fracture lost his parents. He is completely left to his own devices. Many of these children are now on their own, they were at home when they were attacked and they have lost their parents. They are too shocked to speak.”

A year ago, a Save the Children report revealed that 80% of children in Gaza struggled with mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. This figure marks a worsening compared to the report published four years earlier.

“It’s not just the children, the parents are absolutely devastated because many of them don’t have a home to return to, they sleep on the streets and come back to be with the children,” says Dr Abu -Sittah. “One of my colleagues just lost ten of his neighbors and his house was destroyed this morning, and he had to come straight back here to work. »

He adds that essential products like chlorhexidine, an antiseptic commonly used to treat burns, are out of stock and staff have to rely on soap and water to clean wounds, increasing the risk of injury. life-threatening infections. There is also a shortage of orthopedic equipment such as plates and screws.

“All of this is consumed at a breakneck pace for multiple injured patients who need daily dressings,” he continues. “The system was already overwhelmed because of the siege and the situation has gotten even worse. »

“Carte blanche” for a massacre

Dr Abu-Sittah has already experienced several conflicts in Gaza, notably in 2009, 2012, 2014 and 2021.

“2014 was like a meat grinder. But I’ve never seen anything like this since I’ve been working, just the number of people displaced in just three days. If the humanitarian corridor is not open, the system will collapse very quickly. »

He also noted that the number of homeless people is very high after people were displaced following the destruction of their homes.

“The problem is knowing where to send them. There is nowhere to send these people who came because they were bombed at home. It’s like a refugee camp.”

“All the people we saw were civilians. I fear this will drag on and be absolutely devastating, unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. We have the impression that (the Israelis) have been given carte blanche to do the unimaginable here in Gaza.”

October 15, 2023 – Al-Mayadeen – Translation: Chronicle of Palestine