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Needs mount at Gaza hospital as conflict continues

Al-Ahli Arab Hospital Director Suhaila Tarazi stands in the destroyed Admin Room. (Diocese of Jerusalem Photo)

October 26, 2023

By Jacqueline Tucci

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Health facilities across Gaza have been the target of strikes as ongoing violence in the region escalates. To date, six hospitals – including PWRDF partner, the al-Ahli Arab Hospital – and 69 health facilities have been hit, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries, and massive damage to infrastructure and equipment. A Situation Report published by the Episcopal (Anglican) Diocese of Jerusalem, which operates the hospital, states that as of October 24, 5,700 Palestinians have been killed – of whom 2,360 are children. An additional 16,000 people have been injured.

After the current conflict began on October 7, PWRDF responded immediately with an allocation of $30,000 to Al-Ahli. Since then, more than $39,000 has been donated to PWRDF by supporters across Canada for the hospital.

Download the Gaza Emergency Appeal bulletin insert to share in your parish.

The Ultrasound room after October 14 bomb blast. (Diocese of Jerusalem photo)

On October 14, Al-Ahli was hit, sustaining damage to the upper floors with Ultrasound and Mammography wards. A second strike on the hospital on October 17 was the deadliest incident, injuring multiple staff including four who required surgeries. In the wake of the incident, the UN Secretary-General called for “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.” On October 23 the Humanitarian Coalition in Canada launched the Gaza Emergency Appeal and on October 24 the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Jerusalem issued a joint emergency appeal for the Diocese.

“Since the beginning of the crisis, Al-Ahli staff have maintained an around-the-clock presence at the hospital, providing urgent medical care for those physically injured, particularly, children who have been traumatized by the violence,” the Diocese said in its report. “In addition, they have received elective cases referred by other hospitals that are overwhelmed with thousands of injured patients. The Burn Care unit has received hundreds of children with severe burns.”

The Diocese further reports that the two strikes caused severe damage to the hospital’s ambulance, medical equipment and machines, including an Ultrasound, Mammography and ventilation system, an operating theatre table and an anesthesia machine. They also report damage to the infrastructure of hospital departments including the diagnostic center, the ventilation system, the ultrasound room, the Mammography room, the administration and management offices, the hospital entrance and courtyard, the hospital parking, and more.

Staff performing a surgery (Diocese of Jerusalem photo).

“Despite the challenges and damages, the hospital staff continues to provide urgent medical care for those physically injured and traumatized,” they said in the report.

The dramatic increase in treatment and medical interventions provided over the past three weeks has forced the hospital to run through much of their medicine, medical supplies and fuel. Fortunately, the hospital partially runs on solar power which has allowed them to continue their work amongst fuel shortages in Gaza. However, there is still a large need for support within the hospital. Thousands of people will require psychosocial support, while new medical equipment and devices are needed to replace those damaged in the blasts. Rehabilitation care, prolonged treatment for the wounded, hygiene kits and food and drinking water for patients, staff and their families are all desperately needed as well. Additional staff is required for rotating, round-the-clock shifts.

How you can help 

To support the al-Ahli Arab Hospital during this time of crisis, please donate online to our Gaza Emergency Appeal. You can also donate by phone at 416-822-9083 (or leave a message toll-free at 1-866-308-7973 and we will return your call) or by mail. Send your cheque to PWRDF, 80 Hayden Street, 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON, Canada, M4Y 3G2. Please indicate “Gaza” in the memo field. 

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For media requests please contact Communications Coordinator Janice Biehn at (416) 924-9199;366.

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