‘Do we fuel baby incubators or bakeries?’ Palestinians face an impossible choice
'Do we give for the incubators or the bakeries?'
A third of hospitals are closed and more are expected to shut within hours due to dwindling supplies of fuel amid the ongoing siege, the United Nations warned.
Medics are taking emergency cases only over fears the supply will run out despite the number of wounded surpassing 18,000, all the while new deliveries are being blocked.
Many lives hinge on the constant flow of electricity, but once the generators stop, there is nothing that could be done for patients, including premature newborns in incubators.
The UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, has been delivering its stockpile with bakeries, so that people in shelters are fed and water is desalinated.
But relief workers have warned that remaining supplies will run out at some point today if the agency continues to do all these things.
Spokesperson Tamara Alrifai said: ‘Do we give for the incubators or the bakeries?
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‘Do we bump clean water or do we send trucks to the borders? It’s an excruciating decision.’
Experts from the International Committee of the Red Cross focused their visit on Tuesday on two of the main medical centres in Gaza: al-Quds and al-Shifa.
William Schomburg, the head of the ICRC mission in Gaza, said both hospitals ‘are rapidly running out of fuel and medical supplies’.
At Gaza City’s al-Shifa Hospital, the lack of medicine and clean water have also led to ‘alarming’ infection rates, Doctors Without Borders said.
Amputations are often required to prevent infections from spreading, the group added.
One surgeon has described amputating half the foot of a nine-year-old boy with only ‘slight sedation’ on a hallway floor as his mum and sister watched.
In recent days, Israel has let more than 70 trucks with aid enter from Egypt, which aid workers say is insufficient and only a tiny fraction of what was being brought in before the war.
Israel is still barring deliveries of fuel – needed to power generators – claiming it believes that Hamas will take it.
‘This is a small amount of what is required, a drop in the ocean,’ Mr Schomburg added. ‘We are trying to establish a pipeline.’
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