With at least four Palestinians killed and 250 injured on Friday alone, aid workers say they fear Gaza’s medical facilities will not be able to cope with the influx of wounded protesters participating in the Great Return March.
Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, who heads Doctors Without Borders’ (MSF) Palestine mission, told RT that the medical aid organization had treated 147 gunshot victims in the last week – but that medical supplies and surgeons were in short supply.
Saying that the Israeli military was using live ammunition to quash the protests, Ingres said that many of the injured will need weeks or even months to recover, straining Gaza’s already dangerously inadequate medical resources.
For Palestinians who have been shot, medical treatment “is not only a question of one day,” Ingres said. “It will last several months for some of them … they will need several surgeries. So it’s not only a question of one day. It will last [a long time].”
Facilities operated by Doctors Without Borders have so far found a way to cope with the huge influx of injuries – but Ingres said that she’s worried about the next demonstration, planned for next month.
“The ministry of health and the health facilities in Gaza will not be able to continue to manage. We’ve done a great job in the last days, but if it continues like that, it will not be possible anymore,” said Ingres.
Over the past week, an additional 17 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,400 injured by live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas used by Israeli forces against the demonstrators.
The protests are expected to continue up until the anniversary of the Nakba (Great Catastrophe) on May 15, which for Palestinians marks the forced mass exodus from their land during the establishment of the state of Israel. The date is celebrated as Independence Day in Israel.
Medecins sans frontiers (MSF), known in English as Doctors Without Borders, is an international NGO that provides medical care in conflict zones and developing countries affected by endemic diseases.