IFRC statement on the closure of Al-Amal Hospital in Gaza

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IFRC flag

Photo: IFRC

Geneva/Beirut, 26 March 2024 

Al-Amal Hospital and the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) headquarters in Khan Yunis has ceased functioning. For over 40 days, sustained hostilities in and around Al-Amal Hospital, have placed the lives of critical patients, injured civilians, medical staff, and PRCS teams in grave danger, transforming the hospital into a battleground when it should be a sanctuary.

All PRCS staff and hundreds of critically injured and displaced people seeking refuge and treatment within its complex were forced to evacuate.  These same people, already bearing the scars of displacement, face the daunting task of finding new shelters amidst the uncertainty.

With the PRCS being a major provider of healthcare services in the Gaza Strip, the forced closures of both its operational hospitals, Al-Quds and now Al-Amal, have now rendered its critical healthcare services non-functional. The health services in northern Gaza have been largely destroyed, and the southern Gaza Strip’s healthcare system is on the brink of collapse. The cessation of operations in most northern hospitals, due to acute fuel shortages, absence of medicines, and medical equipment, coupled with the lack of safe access, has been catastrophic. The forced closure of Al-Amal Hospital, one of the few remaining medical facilities in the south, has profound implications, leaving countless lives at risk.

Marked clearly with the red crescent emblem, Al-Amal Hospital is protected under International Humanitarian Law. The Red Cross, Red Crescent, and Red Crystal emblems represent neutrality and impartial humanitarian assistance, promising protection in times of conflict and disaster.

We call on all parties to adhere to their obligations under International Humanitarian Law, ensuring the protection of civilians, healthcare workers, and facilities. We call for rapid and unimpeded passage for humanitarian aid, and safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers.

The IFRC stands in solidarity with the PRCS, advocating for the protection of all medical facilities and personnel. We honor the courage of PRCS volunteers and paramedics, many of whom have faced personal loss or detention, yet remain unwavering in their selfless response to those in need. Since the beginning of the conflict, we have lost 18 members of our network: 15 from PRCS and three from Magen David Adom. Any attack on healthcare workers, ambulances, and medical facilities is unacceptable. 
In the midst of conflict, access to healthcare is not just a necessity—it is a matter of life and death. The people of Gaza have endured unimaginable suffering; healthcare remains one of their last bastions of hope. 
For more information, contact: [email protected] 

In Beirut:   

Mey Alsayegh: +961 3 229 352

In Geneva: 
Mrinalini Santhanam: +41 76 381 50 06 
Andrew Thomas: +41 76 367 65 87

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