Photo Credit: Flash90
Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, November 10, 2023.

Responding to a World Health Organization call to treat thousands of severely ill patients who are at risk of death in the Gaza Strip, the European Union is working to implement an evacuation plan, The Financial Times reported Wednesday.

WHO has identified more than 9,000 patients in need of urgent treatment, including 109 “severely ill and injured” children.


This EU is hoping to transport to its member countries thousands of patients out of the war-ravaged Gaza Strip where they can receive necessary healthcare services unavailable at home.

Egypt has shut down the Rafah border crossing through which Gazans, including those requiring emergency treatment, had been able to leave. After Israel’s takeover of the Rafah crossing, the Egyptians announced they would no longer allow for the passage of Gazans trying to flee the war.

The WHO letter to the EU reported that “Many patients are in urgent need of specialized medical treatment that is simply not available due to the destruction of the healthcare infrastructure.”

EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides and crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarčič wrote, “These patients include women and children suffering from severe injuries, and individuals with chronic illnesses whose lives are at risk without immediate medical intervention.”

To facilitate the evacuations, the European Union’s humanitarian aid operation (ECHO) has transportation resources at its disposal, including aircraft that could ferry patients from Gaza to Europe. However, the success of the evacuation plan hinges on EU member states providing hospital beds to receive and treat the evacuated Palestinians upon their arrival. While ECHO can handle the logistics of transporting the patients out of the conflict zone, the national governments must commit healthcare facilities and resources to accommodate those being evacuated for urgent medical treatment.

According to WHO, only a third of Gaza’s 36 hospitals and healthcare clinics are still functioning, following Israeli attacks on the Hamas terrorists who had turned most of them into bases from which they fired rockets on Israeli civilian centers and launched attacks on the advancing IDF. Healthcare service in Gaza currently suffers from “shortages of vital medical supplies, fuel, and staff,” according to WHO.


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