Interview: Dr Khalil Abu Foul

Publié: 18 juillet 2014 15:11 CET

Dr Khalil Abu Foul, 43, is a general surgical consultant and is head of the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s disaster and management unit in the Gaza Strip. He is also Director General of al-Quds hospital in the Gaza Strip.

How does the humanitarian situation in Gaza look at the moment?

Since the start of the Israeli shelling in the Gaza Strip, the humanitarian situation has worsened gradually. This continuous shelling led to more than 240 people killed and over 1,500 injured who have been received by hospitals in Gaza. The hospitals are suffering from a severe shortage of materials and medical supplies used for treating the wounded and also from the limited capacity to absorb such large numbers of injured people.

Hundreds of families who have lost their homes, are in need of safe shelters and relief materials. We also cannot overlook the consequences and the psychological difficulties suffered by the children. There is also a crisis in fuel and electricity supply, which cuts off from the Strip for a period of 10 hours, including hospitals and medical centers.

How is the Palestine Red Crescent Society responding to the needs, and what are the main challenges?

Our teams are working in the field providing first aid, transport, evacuation and relief services. These crews, centers and ambulances are at similar risk to the rest of the citizens from shelling of civilian areas and buildings. The ambulance and emergency center in Gibalaya has been bombed which resulted in wounding 12 paramedics with mild or moderate injuries, including fractures; destroying three ambulances and causing serious damage to the building. It is now not safe to work there. The main challenge for us is the safety of our crews while they perform their work. There is a serious lack of materials and medical supplies for aid and emergencies, and spare parts for medical equipment and ambulances due to the Israeli blockade.

What are the greatest needs for the Red Crescent to continue deliver its services?

We need to secure safe access for the teams in all the areas that are exposed to bombardment in order to evacuate the wounded and bring medical and relief supplies into the area.

How many volunteers and staff are involved in the operation? What is their daily routine  like?

There are about 500 people working in the rescue and relief operations between volunteers and employees, and they are working day and night to respond to the humanitarian and medical needs of the citizens. Many are separated from their families, who share the same risks as the rest of the citizens. Despite the concern for their families, our staff and volunteers are doing their best to perform their humanitarian duties and alleviate the suffering of those who are affected by the bombing.