[Anglican Communion News Service] The Anglican-run hospital in Gaza City which provided critical healthcare during the recent fighting is facing a future treating severe injuries and trauma.
In a message to the Anglican Communion, Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem Suheil Dawani said serving the immediate needs of the community in Gaza “remained a high priority” for Al Ahli Arab Hospital and its staff.
The bishop was writing primarily to thank the Anglican Communion for the “outpouring of support from our development partners, churches and individuals” after a humanitarian appeal for Al Ahli Hospital on July 15.
Thanks to support from the Anglican community worldwide and other supporters, Al Ahli was one of the hospitals able to continue to treat men, women and children injured during the two months of violence that killed 1,663 Palestinian and 67 Israeli civilians and soldiers*.
Once described as a “haven of peace” in the middle of one of the world’s most troubled places,” the hospital has become a key center for those impacted by the horrors of war.
“Although we celebrate the news of the August 26 ceasefire and an end to two months of violence, rebuilding Gaza will be a huge task,” said Dawani. “For Al Ahli Hospital, serving the immediate needs of the community in Gaza remains a high priority.
“Al Ahli has distributed first-aid packages to community-based organizations to enable them to treat some of the injured. Long-term care at the hospital is needed for those with severe injuries, while thousands of people are receiving psychosocial support to deal with the impact of the war.
“As so many buildings and homes in Gaza have been destroyed, many people still seek shelter and food for themselves and their families. With water and sanitation infrastructure damaged in many places, Al Ahli is also working hard to help contain the spread of communicable diseases and other hazards of polluted water and inadequate hygiene facilities.”
Half of all the hospitals there were damaged or destroyed in the violence. Al Ahli was not one of them, but it did lose staff. One of the hospital’s nurses, Nivine Attar, was killed at home after her night shift at the hospital. She died on August 10 as she tried to protect her two daughters – aged 2 1/2 years and six months – during a bombardment of the area around her home. The girls are now orphans.
In the latest update from the hospital, it recorded receiving 4,300 patients; treating 45 patients a day for burns (50% of those were children); and 120 people per day (again mainly children) were affected by the lack of sanitation, water, and food. Children in particular were suffering from chest infections, rashes and scabies.
Dawani said, the terrible news coming out of Israel/Palestine, Iraq and Syria could cause people to lose hope but he went on, “When we look more carefully at our communities – our schools, hospitals and other places of healing, as well as places of worship – we see promising signs everywhere of the Spirit moving hearts with love to help others.”
*Figures from BBC News Online http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28666562