Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Health minister in Gaza: Israel and Egypt must lift siege or patients may die


After the new Egyptian government decided to close the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian population of Gaza has faced a worsening health crisis due to lack of medicine and equipment.

The Palestinian Minister of Health in Gaza reported on Monday that hospitals throughout the Gaza Strip are running dangerously low on lifesaving medications and equipment. “Of the medicines on the essential drugs list,” said Dr Mofeed Mokhalalati, “145 items have completely run out.”

Dr Mokhalalati urged the international community to put pressure on both Israel and Egypt to lift the siege that has put a stranglehold on the economy of Gaza since 2007. In addition, he called on the International Committee of the Red Cross, the UN Organisation for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the World Health Organisation to intervene.

After the 2011 revolution in Egypt, there was some easing of the siege from the Egyptian side, but the new Egyptian government that took over when Mohammed Morsi stepped down several months ago reinstated the closure of the Rafah border crossing, which had become the only means of entrance or egress for the vast majority of Gaza residents.more

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