Skip to main content

MSF says facing 'critical' medical supply shortage in Gaza

Wounded Palestinians receive care at an MSF clinic in Gaza's southern city of Rafah in April
— Paris (AFP)

Aid group Doctors Without Borders has warned of "critical" shortages of medical supplies in Gaza, with no resupply for more than two months as fighting between Israel and Hamas wears on.

The group known by its French initials MSF is "facing critical shortages of many things like gauze, gloves... things like that," Amber Alayyan, who works on the Palestinian territories for its French branch, told AFP on Tuesday.

The aid group warned last week in a statement it had been unable to bring any medical supplies into Gaza since the end of April and called on Israel to open more crossing points into the territory.

"We're seeing people who are injured in bombings, in shootings, in drone attacks," Alayyan said.

"We're seeing people who are living in such poor conditions that they're cooking on the floor."

MSF staff have shifted to changing wound dressings every four days rather than the usual two to save on supplies, paediatrician Alayyan added.

Israel is carrying out a large-scale military operation in Gaza to root out Hamas militants in the wake of a cross-border assault on October 7 last year.

The Israeli assault has killed at least 38,295 people, mostly civilians, according to health authorities in the Hamas-run territory.

MSF now risks running out of vital medication such as anaesthetics needed for surgery.

"If we have to continue going like this... we won't be able to operate. We won't operate without anaesthesia," Alayyan said.

UNRWA, the United Nations body responsible for Palestinian refugees, estimated last month that around 10 children per day were losing one or both legs in Gaza.

Where MSF is involved, "most of the amputations... are being done as life-saving amputations," Alayyan said.

Afterwards, "we don't even have enough wheelchairs in our own hospital... much less prosthetic devices", she added.

With around 88,000 people wounded in Gaza, according to the health ministry, it will be a "proper catastrophe for years to come in terms of post-operative care, wound care, amputations, prosthetics", Alayyan said.

"Gaza itself needs to be rebuilt. So it's going to have to be rebuilt with wheelchair-accessible ramps all over the place for the thousands of people who are going to be in wheelchairs," she said.

"The war needs to stop... the healthcare system is completely destroyed."