GAZA: Displaced people forced to evacuate Nasser Hospital have nowhere to go

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) strongly condemns the decision by Israeli Forces to issue an evacuation order to thousands of displaced people sheltering inside Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, the largest medical facility in southern Gaza.

On 13 February, an Israeli military bulldozer destroyed the north gate of the hospital grounds and ordered displaced people to leave through it. Medical staff and patients were told they may remain in the hospital with a limit of one caretaker per patient. MSF staff are still in the building and continue to treat patients amid near-impossible conditions.

Hundreds of people camp in temporary shelters in the south of Gaza. The general conditions for most of these people are appalling: they live in temporary structures made of a few pieces of wood banged together and covered in plastic sheeting. Gaza | 24/11/2023
Hundreds of people camp in temporary shelters in the south of Gaza. The general conditions for most of these people are appalling: they live in temporary structures made of a few pieces of wood banged together and covered in plastic sheeting. Gaza | 24/11/2023

Following weeks of heavy fighting near Nasser Hospital, medical staff, patients, and displaced people found themselves trapped inside the compound with very little access to essential supplies. Many people who were wounded by the intense bombing in Khan Yunis were also unable to reach the hospital for emergency care.

According to information available to MSF teams, in the past days, at least five people have been killed and ten others wounded after shots were fired directly at the hospital.

“People have been forced into an impossible situation: stay at Nasser hospital against the Israeli military’s orders and become a potential target or exit the compound into an apocalyptic landscape where bombings and evacuation orders are part of daily life,” said Lisa Macheiner, MSF project coordinator in Gaza. “Hospitals should be considered as safe places and shouldn’t even be evacuated in the first place.”

 Gaza | 24/11/2023
Gaza | 24/11/2023

Since the war in Gaza began, our medical teams and patients have been forced to evacuate nine different healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip after coming under fire from tanks, artillery, fighter jets, snipers and ground troops or being subject to an evacuation order. Medical staff and patients have been arrested, abused and killed. The provision of healthcare and scaling up lifesaving assistance is being made impossible by the intensity of Israel’s bombings and shelling, as well as intense fighting.

Warring parties must always respect and allow unhindered access to medical facilities and their surroundings and protect medical staff and patients.

MSF reiterates its call for an immediate ceasefire that will spare the lives of civilians, allow adequate and vital access to food and other basic commodities, and re-establish the healthcare system on which the survival of the people of Gaza depends.

Gaza | 24/11/2023
Gaza | 24/11/2023

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Displaced people forced to evacuate have nowhere to go in Gaza | MSF
Doctors Without Borders condemns the decision by Israeli Forces to evacuate thousands of displaced people in Gaza.
MSF Southern Africa
Jane Rabothata Communications Specialist, MSF

About Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is a global network of principled medical and other professionals who specialise in medical humanitarian work, driven by our common humanity and guided by medical ethics. We strive to bring emergency medical care to people caught in conflicts, crises, and disasters in more than 70 countries worldwide.

In South Africa, the organisation is recognised as one of the pioneers of providing Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) in the public sector and started the first HIV programmes in South Africa in 1999. Until today, the focus of MSF’s interventions in the country has primarily been on developing new testing and treatment strategies for HIV/AIDS and TB in Eshowe (Kwa-Zulu Natal) and Khayelitsha (Western Cape).

In Tshwane, we run a migration project, and we offer medical and psychosocial care to migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, who struggle to access public health services under South Africa’s increasingly restrictive.

Previously we offered free, high-quality, confidential medical care to survivors of SGBV in Rustenburg.

To learn more about our work in South Africa, please visit this page on our website (www.msf.org.za). To support MSF’s work:

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