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Israel Palestinian Conflict, Ap Top News

Beset by virus, Gaza's hospitals now struggle with wounded

Just weeks ago, the Gaza Strip’s feeble health system was struggling with a runaway surge of coronavirus cases. This week's violence between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers has doctors scrambling to treat blast and shrapnel wounds.

5/14/2021 6:41:00 AM

Just weeks ago, the Gaza Strip ’s feeble health system was struggling with a runaway surge of coronavirus cases. This week's violence between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers has doctors scrambling to treat blast and shrapnel wounds.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Just weeks ago, the Gaza Strip ’s feeble health system was struggling with a runaway surge of coronavirus cases. Authorities cleared out hospital operating rooms, suspended nonessential care and redeployed doctors to patients having difficulty breathing.

This week’s violencebetween Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers has killed 103 Palestinians, including 27 children, and wounded 530 people in the impoverished territory. Israeli airstrikes have pounded apartments, blown up cars and toppled buildings.Doctors across the crowded coastal enclave are now reallocating intensive care unit beds and scrambling to keep up with a very different health crisis: treating blast and shrapnel wounds, bandaging cuts and performing amputations.

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ADVERTISEMENTDistraught relatives didn’t wait for ambulances, rushing the wounded by car or on foot to Shifa Hospital, the territory’s largest. Exhausted doctors hurried from patient to patient, frantically bandaging shrapnel wounds to stop the bleeding. Others gathered at the hospital morgue, waiting with stretchers to remove the bodies for burial.

At the Indonesia Hospital in the northern town of Jabaliya, the clinic overflowed after bombs fell nearby. Blood was everywhere, with victims lying on the floors of hallways. Relatives crowded the ER, crying out for loved ones and cursing Israel.“Before the military attacks, we had major shortages and could barely manage with the second (virus) wave,” said Gaza Health Ministry official Abdelatif al-Hajj by phone as bombs thundered in the background. “Now casualties are coming from all directions, really critical casualties. I fear a total collapse.”

Gutted by years of conflict, the impoverished health care system in the territory of more than 2 million people has always been vulnerable. Bitter division between Hamas and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and a nearly 14-year blockade imposed by Israel with Egypt’s help also has strangled the infrastructure. There are shortages of equipment and supplies such as blood bags, surgical lamps, anesthesia and antibiotics. Personal protection gear, breathing machines and oxygen tanks remain even scarcer.

Last month, Gaza’s daily coronavirus cases and deaths hit record highs, fueled by the spread of a variant that first appeared in Britain, relaxation of movement restrictions during Ramadan, and deepening public apathy and intransigence.In the bomb-scarred territory where the unemployment rate is 50%, the need for personal survival often trumps the pleas of public health experts. While virus testing remains limited, the outbreak has infected more than 105,700 people, according to health authorities, and killed 976.

ADVERTISEMENTAs cases climbed last year, stirring fears of a health care catastrophe, authorities set aside clinics just for COVID-19 patients. But that changed as airstrikes pummeled the territory.Nurses at the European Hospital in the town of Khan Younis, frantically needing room for the wounded, moved dozens of virus patients in the middle of the night to a different building, said hospital director Yousef al-Akkad. Its surgeons and specialists, who had deployed elsewhere for the virus, rushed back to treat head injuries, fractures and abdominal wounds.

If the conflict intensifies, the hospital won’t be able to care for the virus patients, al-Akkad said.“We have only 15 intensive care beds, and all I can do is pray,” he said, adding that because the hospital lacks surgical supplies and expertise, he’s already arranged to send one child to Egypt for reconstructive shoulder surgery. “I pray these airstrikes will stop soon.”

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At Shifa, authorities also moved the wounded into its 30 beds that had been set aside for virus patients. Thursday night was the quietest this week for the ICU, as bombs had largely fallen elsewhere in Gaza. Patients with broken bones and other wounds lay amid the din of beeping monitors, intercoms and occasional shouts by doctors. A few relatives huddled around them, recounting the chaotic barrage.

“About 12 people down in one airstrike. It was 6 p.m. in the street. Some were killed, including my two cousins and young sister. It’s like this every day,” said 22-year-old Atallah al-Masri, sitting beside his wounded brother, Ghassan.Hospital director Mohammed Abu Selmia lamented the latest series of blows to Gaza’s health system.

“The Gaza Strip is under siege for 14 years, and the health sector is exhausted. Then comes the coronavirus pandemic,” he said, adding that most of the equipment is as old as the blockade and can’t be sent out for repairs.Now, his teams already strained by virus cases are treating bombing victims, more than half of whom are critical cases needing surgery.

“They work relentlessly,” he addedTo make matters worse, Israeli airstrikes hit two health clinics north of Gaza City on Tuesday. The strikes wreaked havoc on Hala al-Shawa Health Center, forcing employees to evacuate, and damaged the Indonesian Hospital, according to the World Health Organization. Israel, already under pressure from an

International Criminal court investigationinto possible war crimes during the 2014 war, reiterated this week that it warns people living in targeted areas to flee. The airstrikes nonetheless have killed civilians and inflicted damage on Gaza’s infrastructure.

The violence also has closed a few dozen health centers conducting coronavirus tests, said Sacha Bootsma, director of WHO’s Gaza office. This week, authorities conducted some 300 tests a day, compared with 3,000 before the fighting began.The U.N. Relief and Works Agency, or UNRWA, ordered staff to stay home from its 22 clinics for their safety. Those now-closed centers had also administered coronavirus vaccines, a precious resource in a place that waited months to receive a limited shipment from the U.N.-backed COVAX program. Those doses will expire in just a few weeks and get thrown away, with “huge implications for authorities’ ability to mobilize additional vaccines in the future,” Bootsma said.

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For the newly wounded, however, the virus remains an afterthought.The last thing that Mohammad Nassar remembers before an airstrike hit was walking home with a friend on a street. When he came to, he said, “we found ourselves lying on the ground.”Now the 31-year-old is hooked up to a tangle of tubes and monitors in the Shifa Hospital surgical ward, with a broken right arm and a shrapnel wound in his stomach.

—-DeBre reported from Dubai, Untied Arab Emirates. Read more: The Associated Press »

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if Hamas didnt have the capacity than why they throw rockets on Israel I find it very confusing when it comes to the Uyghurs & now the conflict between Palestine & Israel, if it’s not ok to oppress people based on their religion as long as it’s peaceful, then why is it ok for some people from Israel to oppress Innocent Muslims. Don’t fall for hate.

Having illegally declared Jerusalem its capital, Israel provokes 'HAMAS' into war. The fundamentalist Islamist movement 'HAMAS' should exclude from its program the doctrine of the destruction of the state of Israel and the formation of a Muslim theocratic state in its place. rayleengale ProtectPalestinians

🤥🤥🤥🤥 Wahhh sooo sorry Israel’s handouts of just about EVERYTHING isn’t enough! Why don’t you report on the fact that the medical treatment and aid the civilian Palestinians DO get, even during conflicts, is by ISRAELIS?! Doesn’t fit your skewed narrative? The Jews are nothing but what they are. Trouble makers and warmongers. The world will be a better place without them.

Ah, poor guys. They have fired on Israel 1200 rockets in 3 days and probably thought they will walk away smiling. Surprise, surprise -you starting war you got it back It's increasingly clear that the vast majority of innocents killed in Gaza, including children, are the victims of misfired Hamas rockets. Those blaming Israel for these deaths without independent confirmation are engaging in the worst form of libel against the Jewish state.

The conflict must be stopped at all costs. We should unite to fight covid19, poverty and hunger. Probably shouldn’t be firing unguided rockets into Israel then. I guess they should've spent more money on medical infrastructure and vaccines vs. tunnels and missiles then?

Israeli ground troops attacking in Gaza Strip, IDF saysZionists getting their wish Attacking civilians. “Attacking”

Israel is parasitic, it lives off US money and Palestinian land. Fuck Israel and their genocide of the Palestinians!! IsraelExposed IsraeliTerrorism freepalastine Is vitalik worthy of our trust in the crypto world? Please explain the source of his billion donations! Retweet, let more people understand!

Biased as hell. I'm a Fascist, and even I can see Palestine/Hamas is clearly ion the wrong here. Israel SHOULD defend itself, and I'm FAR from a Zionist supporter. thanks Good they need to be liberated fucking specs 😌🤔🤫🤐 So sad... Hmm I'm wonder why Gaza had such a feeble health system to begin with.... 👀

More mass murders, including women and innocent children, genocide on a wholesale basis by the brutal barbaric Israelis, straight to The Hague, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing

Israel threatens Gaza ground invasion despite truce effortsJERUSALEM (AP) — Israel on Thursday said it was massing troops along the Gaza frontier and calling up 9,000 reservists ahead of a possible ground invasion of the Hamas -ruled territory, as the two bitter enemies plunged closer to all-out war. This will be a never-ending war, It is a big mistake by Israelis thinking can finish off Hamas 🇺🇸 To maintain its dominance over much of the world, absolutely anything goes, from the propaganda of its dehumanized capitalism disguised as 'democracy.' Until the creation, training, financing, supply of weapons of terrorist groups. The military-industrial complex 🇺🇸🤑⚰️⚰️⚰️ Just put an end to this mess once and for all.

Gaza Strip will run out of fuel for generators by Sunday: reportThe Gaza Strip will run out of fuel for its electric generators by Sunday, an Israel i official told the Times of Israel Gaza strip has enough caretakers and givers and protectors and providers now. So it shouldn't really even matter. thisisinsider Or are they?

Gaza marks Muslim festival Eid surrounded by war as Israeli bombs kill 83With Israel preparing for a ground invasion, the besieged enclave is bracing for more casualties and damages after facing days of escalating and deadly violence. Terrorist israel is the only reason. They systematicaly continue genocide. Us and France supporting israel since killers supports killers Of course you have to kill more of your enemy than your own casualty so that your enemy would be afraid of you.. Nice rate

14-story building in Gaza collapses after Israeli airstrikesAs the deadly exchanges between Israel and Palestinians continue, video captures the collapse of a 14-story building in Gaza following Israel i airstrikes. One of the tallest buildings in Gaza City, it housed media offices, including a Hamas -run TV station. Wow, was this some kind of structural fault? Not looking good for the Palestinians infrastructure plan. How could this happen in such a well developed country? Shame on you. SavePalestine Hamas is a terrorist organization. Sovereign nations have a right to protect themselves from terrorism.

Escalating Mideast violence bears hallmarks of 2014 Gaza warGAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Rockets streamed out of Gaza and Israel pounded the territory with airstrikes early Wednesday as the most severe outbreak of violence since the 2014 war took on many hallmarks of that devastating 50-day conflict, with no endgame in sight... AP 🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡🤡👇👇👇👇👇 Netanyahu is escalating the situation out of pure self-interest. He needs to stay out of jail. ❤️🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤 ❤️❤️🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤 ❤️❤️❤️🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤 ❤️❤️❤️❤️🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍 ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍 ❤️❤️❤️❤️🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍🤍 ❤️❤️❤️💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚 ❤️❤️💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚 ❤️💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚💚