Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ei: Gaza's main hospital struggling to cope

GAZA CITY, occupied Gaza Strip (IRIN) - Gaza's main hospital, al-Shifa, is struggling to cope with the influx of people injured in the Israeli air strikes which started on 27 December, according to medical sources.

Staff and patients are also fearful Israel might target it, as the leaders of Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the enclave, have held press conferences there.

The hospital has already moved some medical facilities below ground.

The head of the international cooperation department of Gaza's health ministry, Medhat Abbas, told IRIN: "Al-Shifa has never received hundreds of patients all at once. Hospital staff are using sheets to staunch bleeding, and many patients have died because of the lack of supplies and equipment."

A statement issued by the Israeli branch of Physicians For Human Rights, a non-governmental organization, on 30 December said: "The Israeli attack finds the current health system in the Gaza Strip in a state of total collapse due to the harsh siege imposed on the Gaza Strip for a year and a half, and the closure preceding it."

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