A report from the Diocese of Jerusalem on Al Ahli Arab Hospital

From the Diocese of Jerusalem:

Saturday, 10 January 2009. Al Ahli Arab Hospital continues to receive and care for many patients each day who are injured, wounded, or burned from the current conflict. Up to 40 new patients are seen each day and many of them require hospital admission and surgery. This increased surgical load places strains on related hospital departments – anesthetics, suture material, operating room linens and equipment, bandages, and surgeons themselves. Until relief is available from additional healthcare personnel, the hospital staff works long intervals without rest and struggles against exhaustion. Some hospital staff are now staying in the hospital around the clock, adding to the hospital’s obligations.

In addition, Al Ahli is now receiving patients referred from Shifa Hospital in Gaza City – up to 15 per day. Patients are also being seen, especially children, who are experiencing the effects of fear and psychological trauma.

Large-scale efforts are underway to deliver needed material assistance to the hospital, but the procedures required for safe delivery impose security-related limitations on the amounts of supplies that can be delivered and the time required to get them to the hospital. The hospital is short of fuel which is required to continue operating the electrical generator because little electricity is available in Gaza. Without the fuel for the generator the hospital would have no electricity, which would greatly impact its ability to operate.

Glass in windows and doors at the hospital was shattered by nearby rocket and missile strikes. Glass is unavailable in Gaza at the present time for permanent repair, so the windows are temporarily covered with plastic rubbish bags until plastic sheeting becomes available for better protection from the cold.

Food is in increasingly desperate need. Our efforts at this time are focused on providing nutritional products for the most vulnerable people; for example, children and nursing mothers.

An additional scarcity in Gaza is cash. Many banks are closed for lack of cash. During this time, the Diocese is providing the cash necessary for the hospital to carry out its work and is also providing assurance that any debts incurred by Al Ahli Hospital will be honored.

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