22 hospitals in the Gaza Strip have been instructed by Israeli military forces to evacuate, but for many people they remain the only safe place to shelter. Currently, 35,000 people are sheltering in Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa.
Bisan, a humanitarian youth volunteer with ActionAid Palestine said: “Surprisingly we are still alive. Before becoming a shelter, this was one of the most important and largest hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The conditions here are miserable. We are without water, without food, without hygiene. People are sleeping and lying in the streets, in the corridors and everywhere inside the hospital.”
Forcibly evacuating hospitals is not only a breach of international law but also a grave affront to humanity with so many people injured and already suffering, needing urgent treatment and care. These actions compound the already dire humanitarian situation and place the lives of patients and the medical professionals committed to treating them at severe risk.
The international community must come together to demand the reversal of evacuation orders and to ensure the protection of healthcare facilities and workers during this unprecedented time.
ActionAid continues to call for a ceasefire and an end to the repeated cycle of escalation. We are also calling for a safe humanitarian corridor to provide assistance and medicines and for the protection of civilian infrastructure and civilians.
Hospitals, schools, humanitarian facilities and shelters must be protected from the fighting, they should not be either taken over by combatants or deliberately targeted.
Riham Jafari, Communication and Advocacy Coordinator at ActionAid in Palestine and Soraida Hussein-Sabbah, Gender and Advocacy Specialist at Alianza por la Solidaridad (ActionAid in Spain)
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ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.