IFRC statement on the evacuation order of Al Quds hospital in Gaza

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IFRC flag

Photo: IFRC

We are deeply alarmed to hear that the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) teams at the Al-Quds hospital have again this morning been told to immediately evacuate the hospital. Hospitals are places of help and refuge; they must be protected at all cost.

PRCS’s Al-Quds hospital in Gaza city is caring for hundreds of injured people and bed-ridden, long-term patients. Evacuating patients, including those in intensive care, on life-support and babies in incubators, is close to, if not impossible in the current situation. Our teams also report violent attacks and shelling very close to the hospital further endangering people. Al-Quds Hospital is operated by PRCS, a component of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and together with other medical missions and facilities are protected under international humanitarian law.

We are deeply concerned about the safety of patients, health care workers and the thousands who have taken refuge in Al-Quds Hospital. Healthcare workers should never be put in front of the impossible dilemma of leaving patients behind or risking their lives staying in the hospital.

In the past weeks, we have again and again called for the protection of civilians, hospitals and health care workers. This is not just a moral obligation but also a legal imperative. We urge everyone to exercise restraint and adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law. There is an urgent need to deescalate to save lives, including by ensuring that hospitals can safely operate and allowing for an unhindered, continuous flow of critical humanitarian aid into Gaza.

We cannot stress this further. Civilian lives must be protected. Hospitals, doctors and nurses must be protected. We must preserve humanity.

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