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GAZA: Palestinian forensic experts inspect the body of a dead person uncovered in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on April 17, 2024 after the recent Zionist military operation there.- AFP
GAZA: Palestinian forensic experts inspect the body of a dead person uncovered in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on April 17, 2024 after the recent Zionist military operation there.- AFP

Gaza doctors process war from hospital rubble

GAZA: Emergency doctor Amjad Alewah once saved lives at Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the Gaza Strip. But after 200 days of war between the Zionist entity and Hamas fighters, he now stands in its ruins. “We are now in the middle of the rubble of this great hospital,” Alewah, who returned to inspect the now charred emergency reception room, told AFP.

Following the outbreak of war, Al-Shifa became a safe haven for the thousands injured or fleeing the Zionist onslaught on the Palestinian territory. “Every day, we received thousands of wounded,” he said, recalling having to work without enough medical equipment or fuel for electric generators. “We had picked up the habit of spending all our time here, as if it was our main residence.”

But war came to Al-Shifa, with the Zionist entity launching multiple raids on the medical facility after accusing militants of operating a command center from tunnels below. Footage of the complex filmed by AFP after two weeks of siege between March 18 and early April shows a site laid to waste. UN Human Rights Chief Volker Turk said he was horrified by the hospital’s destruction and demanded an independent investigation. “Hospitals are entitled to very special protection under international humanitarian law,” he said.

Alewah said he was saddened by the destruction of a “cornerstone of health for the whole north of the Gaza Strip,” calling on the international community and World Health Organization (WHO), which visited Al-Shifa to assess damages, to help rebuild. “We’re lacking operating theatres to treat patients, particularly patients on dialysis or those with heart conditions.”

A rehabilitation medical committee has already been put in place, its head, Marwan Abu Saada told AFP, adding that they were working on building an emergency department in another part of the hospital complex. “We will not lose hope,” he repeated, despite acknowledging the difficulty of the task at hand.

As many as 32 hospitals and 53 dispensaries are out of commission due to the war, according to the latest figures from the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza, while 77,100 people are wounded across the territory. “We want the war to end,” said Adham Qneita, a resident of Rimal, a neighborhood adjacent to the hospital. Speaking in front of the devastation of flattened apartment buildings, he said he wished “only for death”. “Nobody cares about us,” — AFP

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