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Gaza healthcare faces ‘real disaster’ due to fuel cuts

File photo of Palestinian paramedics transporting a Gazan to Al-Shifa Hospital, after an Israeli air bombing of the market in the Shuja'iyya neighbourhood
File photo of Palestinian paramedics transporting a Gazan to Al-Shifa Hospital, after an Israeli air bombing of the market in the Shuja'iyya neighbourhood

The Palestinian healthcare system in the besieged Gaza Strip is facing a “real disaster” due to the shortage of fuel supplies for generators that provide electricity for hospitals, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza warned yesterday.

According to the Alresalah online news site, health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra said: “Hospitals in Gaza consume 420,000 litres of fuel every month when electricity shortages are only eight hours a day. If the time of the electricity cut increases, consumption of fuel increases.”

The spokesman said that fuel for generators in the Mohammed Al-Durra Hospital, which serves 40,000 people east of Gaza city, had already run out. “Other hospitals will be facing the same crisis soon if fuel issue are not resolved,” he said.

Al-Qidra called for all sides interested in relieving the suffering of Gaza’s residents, mainly the Palestinian Authority which he said has been ignoring the Gaza Strip, to interfere and save the Gazan healthcare system.

In light of the doubling in the time that electricity cuts last, as electricity in Gaza is currently off for 16 hours a day, Al-Qidra said that his ministry had enacted a “Plan B” to attempt to alleviate the situation.

The health ministry’s plan B involves the redistribution of resources to more critically needed health assets. The ministry would therefore halt the operation of small healthcare clinics and run only small generators in the major healthcare centres and hospitals to operate only ICU and other emergency units only.

However, this has raised questions about the deteriorating condition of the Gazan health system, with fears that shutting down clinics may lead to people all congregating on major healthcare centres just to receive treatment, leading to further strains.

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