Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Inside Gaza: Scenes from a Disaster | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Gaza, Asharq Al-Awsat- Asharq Al-Awsat’s correspondent Saleh al Naeimi, highlights the tragic situation in the Gaza strip, as Israel continues its military campaign that has resulted in the deaths of over 270 people:

Due to the electricity blackouts in the Gaza Strip families clustered around battery powered radios to follow the news of the Israeli attacks.

Morgues in the Gaza Strip are full, and hospital administrations are forced to store the bodies of the dead in halls and unused rooms until they can be transferred for burial.

Due to the large number of wounded, doctors and nurses are forced to perform operations in hospital corridors, while all non-critical patients are evacuated so that the hospitals can continue to treat the injured.

A Doctor at the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip, the Dar Al Shafa hospital fainted when he discovered that the corpse he was unloading from an ambulance belonged to his brother, a police officer. While a nurse fainted at the Shuhuda Al Aqsa hospital upon recognizing the body of one of her close friends.

A Palestinian woman suffered a heart attack upon hearing that the Abbas Police Headquarters in West Gaza where her son was stationed had been bombed resulting in a number of deaths. It later transpired that at the time of the bombing her son had been outside of the station at a nearby restaurant buying a sandwich and had thereby escaped death.

Hospital receptions are overwhelmed by people enquiring as to the fate of their loved ones. A young child no older than 9 years old attempted to enter the Dar Al Shifa hospital to enquire about the fate of his father, a police officer injured in the attacks. He was prevented from doing so by a policeman and so banged his head on the hospital wall in anger and frustration leaving the policeman with no choice but to allow the boy to enter. The boy later found that his father was suffering from only minor injuries.

Most of the dead and wounded were originally taken to hospital in civilian vehicles without special medical attention, as the number of ambulances in the Gaza Strip is very limited. In remote areas –particularly in the case of those only lightly injured- the wounded were taken to hospital in mule and donkey-drawn carriages, as many car-owners feared to drive in these areas for fear of being targeted by Israel.

A scene that was repeated throughout the bombed area of the Gaza Strip was children fleeing their schools crying, and women screaming as they tried to get their children out of school. The students of a Girls Secondary School close to central Gaza fled their school after a site close to it was bombed, resulting in many student fatalities.