International Red Cross opens new 60-bed field hospital in Gaza

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and 11 National Red Cross Societies have joined forces to open a field hospital in Rafah, Gaza. This initiative is intended to help the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) address the enormous medical needs arising from the ongoing conflict. At full capacity, the field hospital will be able to treat 200 people daily.

Field hospital provides wide range of medical care

The initiative is designed to support the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in providing medical care. Since the beginning of hostilities, PRCS staff and volunteers continue to provide emergency relief to the people of Gaza amid an unacceptably high number of casualties. Seventeen PRCS employees have already died while performing their duties, and crucial infrastructure was damaged, including 2 hospitals, multiple medical aid stations and 25 ambulances. Despite these extremely difficult conditions, the PRCS continues to do exceptional work to meet the medical needs of the people of Gaza.

The 60-bed field hospital will provide facilities for emergency surgery, care for pregnant women, mothers and newborns, pediatric care and outpatient care. The hospital will also provide capacity to provide emergency care for a large number of injured people.

The team will consist of 30 humanitarian experts from the various participating National Red Cross Societies, local staff and the ICRC, including surgeons, doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians, engineers, logisticians and administrative staff.

With support from National Red Cross Societies, the ICRC field hospital will be able to provide daily medical care to about 200 people.

For example, the Canadian Red Cross supplies surgical equipment, medical consumables and pharmaceuticals. The Austrian Red Cross provides a reverse osmosis water treatment plant, while the Finnish Red Cross supplies X-ray equipment and water tanks. The German Red Cross is sending nursing and laboratory equipment. The Australian, Hong Kongese, Japanese and Swiss Red Cross are sending personnel. The Norwegian Red Cross, which has a coordinating role, is supplying medical equipment, a water purification system and office equipment.

Ongoing crisis calls for protection of medical facilities

People in Gaza barely have access to necessary medical care. This is partly due to the enormous demand for health services and the limited number of hospitals still functioning. Doctors and nurses work day and night, but they can barely keep up with demand.

Attacks on medical facilities and personnel have badly affected the health system in Gaza. According to the World Health Organization, 23 of 39 hospitals are no longer operational. The hospitals that are still operating are flooded with seriously injured patients, but lack the resources and supplies to treat them properly. In addition, many people in these hospitals are seeking safe haven.

Health needs in Gaza continue to increase by the day. Therefore, the Red Cross Movement reiterates its call to protect medical facilities, as stipulated under International Humanitarian Law. No patient should be killed while lying in a hospital bed. No doctor, nurse or other medical professional may die while trying to save lives. 

Belgian Red Cross-Flanders calls on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law. Civilians, humanitarian personnel and civilian infrastructure should never be the object of attack.

Warm call

Belgian Red Cross-Flanders has so far raised more than €240,000 to support relief efforts on the ground. That financial support goes to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Those wishing to support the victims in the Middle East can do so via account number BE53 0000 0000 5353 stating "conflict Middle East" or via our page.