The legs of a child hang off a table where the body was laid at the morgue of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, on July 20, 2014. At least 20 people were killed in a big Israeli assault east of Gaza City hiking the overall Palestinian death toll to 370, medics said. Image Credit: AFP

Ramallah: Health services in the Gaza Strip are set to collapse in the next few days because the health sector in the region is experiencing a serious shortage of medicines and other medical supplies across all Gaza-based hospitals.

The hospitals are also enduring a grave power shortage necessitating the use of old-fashioned power generators, warned a senior Palestinian official.

According to Dr Nasser Al Qedrah, the spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, responding to the casualties caused by the ongoing Israeli air and ground assault has exhausted the ministry’s medicines.

“Gaza-based hospitals currently urgently need medicines and medical supplies for every casualty entering any hospital in the strip,” he told Gulf News. “If Gaza hospitals are not immediately supplied with intravenous fluids, anaesthesia and the medicines needed in the intensive care units, along with other basic medical needs like gauze and intravenous drip supplies, medical services in Gaza will be automatically suspended.”

The Health Ministry in Gaza has issued several calls to local and international institutions to provide Gaza with its medical supply requirements, saying that what is needed in Gaza is many times beyond the capabilities of the ministry.

With the start of the Israeli air strikes against Gaza, power in the strip was negatively affected, but with the launch of the ground incursion, the strip lost about 90 per cent of its electricity generating capabilities.

Power was cut off in Gaza-based hospitals, which have resorted to using old-fashioned power generators to run medical equipment and light the buildings.

Dr Al Qedrah said that Al Shefa’a Medical Complex operates on a single power generator and that the facility does not have a reserve unit. He said that the Nasser Medical Complex needs more and better generators and that the European Hospital has a similar problem as its power generators cannot function around the clock and with full efficiency.

“The power generators in Gaza hospitals are not trusted at all and they can go down any moment. If power goes out, medical services will be basically terminated,” he said. He stressed that the old-fashioned types of power generators available in Gaza consume huge quantities of diesel, a rare product in the coastal enclave.

Dr Al Qedrah said that 25 Palestinian health facilities in Gaza have been totally or partially destroyed during the Israeli assault on the strip.

The Health Ministry has called on the international community to exert massive pressure on Israel to allow Palestinian technicians to fix the eight out-of-service electric lines that feed the strip and which Israel hit during its air raids against Gaza.

Israel is so far refusing to grant the necessary permission for the Gazans to fix those lines, placing medical services in Gaza at risk of totally falling apart in the coming days should Israel maintain its intransigence.