Beit Hanoun Hospital in Gaza has been forced to suspend its services this morning after the health facility ran out of fuel, according to the Palestinian Information Centre.
Ashraf Al-Qedra, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, confirmed that the hospital had halted all treatments and that patients were being transferred to other facilities in the Strip. Yesterday he warned that Al-Durra Children’s Hospital was at risk of closing, due to acute fuel shortages.
Gaza’s medical facilities have continued to be impacted by the Israeli blockade, now in its tenth year. Continual power outages, sometimes lasting up to 20 hours a day, have prompted hospitals to install fuel generators; the cost of the fuel needed to cover a single hour of power outage is nearly $2,000.
Last week, the health ministry had announced that the Palestinian Authority (PA) would be allocating one million shekels ($290,000) to supply Gaza’s health facilities with fuel, but that such an amount would only cover the hospitals for ten days.
In a statement, Hamas’ spokesman Fawzi Barhoum accused the PA government of deliberately pushing Gaza toward collapse.
“The PA government is turning its back on the needs of Gaza hospitals, including fuel and medicines. This clearly leads to … the dilapidation of Gaza.”
Gaza has been facing a mounting humanitarian emergency for many months, confronted with an energy, water and healthcare crisis. Residents have also been prevented from leaving the Strip; Al-Mezan Centre for Human Rights estimated that some 15 died in the first half of 2017 after Israel denied terminally ill patients the necessary permits to travel outside the besieged enclave for medical treatment.
This month, Israel also announced that it would prevent alleged Hamas members and their relatives from leaving the besieged Gaza Strip for treatment.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza has warned that healthcare services are at breaking point, in light of the severe lack of medical equipment, spare parts, medicines and fuel.
Despite the Egypt-brokered reconciliation talks which were held in Cairo last year, the Palestinian reconciliation between the PA and Hamas has not been fully activated.
The PA, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, has been reluctant to lift the sanctions imposed on the besieged Gaza Strip, a condition which formed part of the main conditions of the reconciliation agreement.