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Unconditional humanity needs to be restored in Gaza

A message from MSF International President Dr. Christos Christou on the crisis in Gaza

A man drinks water from a pipe on the wreckage from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in 2023.

Palestine 2023 © Mohammed Baba

By Dr. Christos Christou, International President of Doctors Without borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Mass killing of civilians is sickening and must be condemned in all possible terms. Horrific violence has been wreaked over the last 10 days.  

More than 1,400 men, women, and children have been killed in Israel.  

Thousands of men, women, and children have been killed in Palestine

The situation today in Gaza is catastrophic. Hospitals and clinics that are running are overwhelmed and are barely functioning. They are running out of electricity and medical supplies. Surgeons at Al-Shifa hospital are now operating without painkillers. As a surgeon myself, this is unimaginable. 

Surgeons at Al-Shifa hospital are now operating without painkillers. As a surgeon myself, this is unimaginable. 

Hospitals and clinics have been attacked. Others receive orders to evacuate–with just a couple of hours’ notice—with impossible decisions to make. Patients—including those in critical condition—risk their lives either by moving or by staying behind, in both cases perhaps to die without treatment.

Ambulances and crowds around Al-Shifa hospital during the Israel-Gaza war in 2023.
Ambulances at the entrance of Al-Shifa Hospital on October 15. Palestine 2023 © Dawood Nemer/AFP

The bombing right now in Gaza is relentless. People have been killed while forced to move, looking for safety. People are trapped, unable to escape, with absolutely nowhere safe to go. They’re deprived of essential needs—water, food, protected shelter, medicines.

This is unimaginable. This is inhumane.

Basic humanity needs to be restored in Gaza. 

The indiscriminate bombing must stop. The egregious level of collective punishment currently being meted out on the people of Gaza must end.

People in Gaza need protected spaces and ways to reach them safely and unimpeded. People wishing to cross the border into Egypt should be allowed to—with the future option to come back—and be properly and humanely assisted. People also need clean water, reliable electricity, access to food, and health care.

The Rafah crossing into Egypt must be opened to allow medical and essential supplies to be sent to Gaza. 

For us, and all medical staff in Gaza to work, we need basic guarantees of safety.

Despite the incredible needs, the widespread bombing and the impossibility of bringing in supplies have forced us to suspend most of our activities. Our teams inside and outside of Gaza are doing the best they can to respond. 

As a medical and humanitarian organization, we want to do so much more. Today this is just impossible.

How MSF is responding to the war in Gaza