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Doctors Without Borders calls for immediate ceasefire in Gaza

People who are wounded and sick must be able to receive medical care, and medical facilities and personnel must be protected and respected.

A man holding a child with wreckage from Israeli bombardment in Gaza behind them.

Palestine 2023 © MSF

UPDATE 12/2/23: After the week-long truce between Israel and Hamas broke on December 1, Israeli forces called for people in areas of central Gaza and Khan Younis to evacuate further south to Rafah. In the north, Al Awda Hospital, where our colleagues still work, was damaged in a blast just hours after the truce ended. We need a sustained ceasefire now.

New York, October 26, 2023—In the midst of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza affecting more than 2 million people trapped under Israeli siege and bombardment, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today called for an immediate ceasefire to save lives and restore the flow of humanitarian aid.

MSF calls for the protection of civilians and health care facilities on both sides of the conflict, at all times. People who are wounded and sick must receive medical care. Medical facilities and personnel must be protected and respected. Hospitals and ambulances are not targets.

The trickle of humanitarian aid that has been allowed to enter Gaza so far this week is grossly inadequate compared to the massive needs. Medicine, medical equipment, food, clean water, and fuel are all essential and should be accessible to people throughout Gaza, said MSF. Fuel is urgently needed to power hospitals and ensure that water can be treated and made safe to drink. According to the UN humanitarian agency, less than four percent of the urgent needs are covered so far.

MSF calls for lifting the siege to allow increased and continuous humanitarian supplies to cross into Gaza, including essential items such as fuel. We are calling on all parties to the conflict to ensure safe passage so that this aid reaches the people with greatest needs.

A statement from MSF-USA executive director Avril Benoît:

On behalf of all our staff and patients trapped in Gaza, we are calling for an immediate ceasefire now. It’s time to end the indiscriminate bloodshed and the massive attacks on Gaza. Today it’s impossible for our colleagues to work safely because of widespread attacks on health care, which have impacted hospitals, ambulances, medical personnel, and patients.

MSF staff who remain in northern Gaza tell us they are exhausted, both mentally and physically. They describe a medical emergency that is worsening every day, with constant bombings and dwindling supplies to treat the victims. They’re seeing mass casualty events that would test even the most well-equipped hospitals.

MSF is committed to supporting the people affected by the humanitarian emergency in Gaza. We want to reach people in need of medical care and offer life-saving humanitarian services. To do this, we need an immediate ceasefire, the ability to bring urgent supplies and personnel into Gaza, and basic guarantees of safety.

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