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Urgent Appeal to Palestinian President and Government: PCHR Warns of Consequences of Fuel Shortage at Gaza Hospitals and Expected Suspension of Health Services at UAE Red Crescent Hospital

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)

October 21, 2014

Ref: 147/2014

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) warns of the disastrous and grave deterioration that may affect the Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip due to the lack of fuel that is necessary to operate electricity generators as an alternative power supply in light of prolonged outages. PCHR calls upon the Palestinian President and government to immediately intervene to ensure the prompt supply of fuel needed for the operation of generators in health facilities in the Gaza Strip.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, hospitals, clinics and first aid centers suffer a real crisis due to the lack of diesel needed for the operation of generators, especially the UAE Red Crescent Hospital in Rafah, which may stop offering medical services within hours because it has run out of the diesel used for generators.

Health facilities of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip have been suffering a real crisis due to the stoppage of the power plant that was bombarded by Israeli forces on 28 July 2014. There is an acute shortage of diesel used for generators at hospitals, clinics and first aid centers in light of the power outages.

Dr. Ashraf al-Qedrah, spokesperson of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, stated to PCHR that "the Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip suffers due to the aggravating fuel crisis in all health facilities. The Ministry's fuel reservoir is only sufficient for a maximum of two days." He added that "efforts exercised by the Ministry have helped delaying this crisis for hours or 2 days in some hospitals." Al-Qedra explained that "the financial donation made by a number of the Ministry's donors ended by the beginning of October 2014 and there is no sufficient funds to buy fuel for hospitals and health facilities in the Gaza Strip." According to Dr. al-Qedra, The Gaza Strip health facilities need approximately 700,000 liters monthly; a daily average of 23,000 ľ 25,000 liters, in light of the frequent power outages." Dr. al-Qedra said that "the lives of thousands of patients would be at stake if the health facilities stopped offering health services, including 113 nurseries in the Gaza Strip hospitals; over 100 patients in the intensive care units; 500 patients suffering from renal failure and use 88 dialysis machines 3 days a week; departments of birth, emergency rooms; 45 operation rooms, 11 of which are used for Caesarean section; and 5 central blood banks, as they all depend on electricity."

Dr Walid Abu Madhi, the director of the UAE Red Crescent Hospital in Rafah, told PCHR that the fuel crisis started on Monday, 20 October 2014. The hospital had 300 liters of fuel, which is barely sufficient for operating generators for 12 hours in light of the power outage. The hospital is threatened to stop working in case the 1000 liters of fuel, which the Ministry of Health provided, runs out. The aforementioned amount of fuel will serve the needs of the hospital for only three days. Dr Madhi confirmed that when the fuel runs out, the hospital, which is the only birth and child care center in Rafah, will shut down. Hence, the services, which the hospital provides for 600 monthly births, 2,500 monthly pregnancy cases, 1,600 patients, and 400 preterm births, will no longer be available.

PCHR expresses its deep concern about the deterioration of the health conditions of the Palestinian patients. Therefore, PCHR:

1. Calls upon president Mahmoud Abbas to immediately intervene with the Ministry of Health to ensure prompt supply of fules for health facilities in the Gaza Strip; and

2. Calls for coordination between the departments of the Ministry of Health in Ramallah and Gaza, especially in the light of the atmosphere of reconciliation and the formation of a Palestinian unity government, which is hoped to effectively assume its responsibilities and ensure the right of health, incuding the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

:: Article nr. 110323 sent on 23-dec-2014 02:05 ECT


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