A Palestinian medical official on Wednesday warned that hospitals in Gaza suffered from acute shortages in medicine and medical supplies.
The shortages are due to a large number of injuries caused by Israeli troops during the ongoing anti-Israel mass protests.
“Medicines at hospital stocks could run out within a few days, due to the high number of injuries we received,’’ director of hospitals at the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Abdul Latif al-Haj, told Xinhua.
He pointed out that the ministry sent urgent appeals to international organisations during the last few hours to provide medicines and supplies to public hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
Hospitals in Gaza have already been suffering from lack of medical supplies, equipment, and electricity due to the blockade Israel has been imposing on the seaside territory since 2007.
Thousands of Palestinians participate daily in anti-Israel rallies that started on March 30 and are held in five areas along the borders with Israel.
The six-week protests dubbed the “Great March of Return’’ are expected to peak on May 15, the day after the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence but marked by the Palestinians as the Nakba Day, or “Day of the Catastrophe.’’
Health Ministry in Gaza said the Israeli army shot dead 39 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,000 others since the outbreak of rallies.
According to the ministry, 1,500 of the wounded were shot with live ammunition, 138 of them are in serious conditions while 17 have lost limbs of their bodies.
Seven government hospitals out of 12 receive emergency cases during confrontations between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers.
Al-Haj said the seven hospitals are struggling to deal with so many wounded amid shortage of human resources and supplies for operations.
“Every week, the seven hospitals receive some 1,000 people, many of whom have serious gunshot wounds,’’ he said. “Their injuries usually lead to the destruction of blood tissues, which requires several urgent complicated surgeries,’’ he said.
The official said this situation, which has been going on for more than four weeks, has made government hospitals unable to provide regular services to patients in the Gaza Strip.
He pointed out that because of the lack of capacity to accommodate patients, 150 to 200 surgeries to ordinary patients are postponed daily.
The ministry has set up five field clinics near the protest areas with emergency equipment to provide initial treatment for the wounded before transferring them to hospitals.
Each clinic has about 10 doctors, 10 nurses, volunteers and is equipped with a number of beds and emergency equipment.