Gaza hospital at breaking point after Israeli bombardment

Amina Ashkinan’s grandchildren were playing in front of their house at Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday when an Israeli strike came from the sky.

Her granddaughter, 10-year-old Mayar, was hit by shrapnel in the abdomen. Her grandson, nine-year-old Ahmed, got injuries all over his body. Both children were rushed to Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza City, just two of the dozens of Palestinians to be transported to the main hospital in the Gaza Strip during Israel’s latest bombardment of the besieged enclave.

Mayar was immediately taken to the operation room. Her condition, along with that of her brother, has since stabilised but Ashkinan is still worried.

For days, Palestinian health officials had been issuing warnings of an imminent stop in the provision of medical services due to the lack of fuel needed to operate the electricity generators in hospitals and health facilities across Gaza. The Strip’s only power plant had shut down on Saturday, days after Israel stopped the planned transport of fuel into the territory.

“The situation is so sad and unimaginable,” Ashkinan, 65, said at the hospital. “No human being can bear what we bear – from the war going on against us, the defenceless civilians, or from the constant power cuts or the running out of fuel?

“What is our fault, and what is the fault of our children, for all this to happen to them?”

‘A real catastrophe’

At least 15 children were among the 44 people killed in the Gaza Strip in three days of Israeli bombardment, according to Palestinian health ministry officials. Late on Sunday, Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad armed group declared a truce that appeared to be holding on Monday morning.

Mohammad Abu Salmiya, Shifa’s director, said the collapse of the health sector was an inevitable result of the 15-year Israeli blockade imposed on the Strip.

Now, he added, the electricity crisis only came to exacerbate the sector’s woes, paralysing all departments and especially the intensive care unit, the oxygen-generating stations and nurseries.

“There are more than 25 injuries who need surgeries; there are wounded in intensive care departments in critical conditions, and there are children, women and the elderly who are injured,” he told Al Jazeera on Sunday.

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