A relative mourns during the funeral of Palestinian nurse Razan Al-Najar, who according to health officials and a witness was killed by Israeli forces as she tried to help a wounded protester at the Gaza border, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip June 2, 2018..
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
A total of 6,174 Palestinians have been injured by bullets fired by IDF troops over the past 10 months since the Great March of Return protests began along the security fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel, a medical NGO has found.
“Médecins Sans Frontières [Doctors Without Borders] has provided care for about half of the wounded people after their initial treatment in local hospitals, and the wounds MSF has observed have been unusually severe,” read a report by the nongovernmental organization.
According to MSF, nearly 90% of those injured by Israeli fire suffered injuries to their lower limbs.
“Patients often have complex open fractures – in which the bone is exposed to the air – or severe tissue and nerve damage. Sometimes, one or more inches of bone are missing.”
During the violent weekly protests that began on March 30, Gazans have been burning tires and hurling stones as well as grenades and other explosive devices toward IDF troops. Gazans have also launched countless aerial incendiary devices into southern Israel,
devastating thousands of acres of land.
While the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza says over 240 Palestinians have been killed and over 22,000 others injured since the protests began, according to Israeli NGO B’Tselem, 190 demonstrators have been killed during the protests – 65% of all Palestinians killed by the IDF in 2018.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there have been a total of 23,603 Palestinians injured since the protests began, with 6,744 injured by live ammunition, another 9,430 by gas inhalation, 741 by missiles and shells and another 6,688 by other means. OCHA documentation also found that the large majority of those injured were men (16,519), followed by 5,183 male youths as well as 1,437 women and 464 girls.
MSF stated that the weakened healthcare system in the Gaza Strip is able to offer bone grafts and reconstructive surgeries to only a limited number of patients, and therefore the NGO has begun to transfer patients to the Jordanian capital of Amman – a complicated legal process which is often held up by Israeli authorities.
“Limited resources make it impossible to provide adequate treatment in many cases, making it necessary to refer patients to hospitals outside the Gaza Strip,” MSF stated, adding: “However, legal obstacles complicate referrals outside of the territory, and MSF was only able to make its first referral this month.”
MSF stated that while it has increased its capacity in the Gaza Strip, performing 302 surgeries in December 2018, the needs of the wounded patients require much more than the care available.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in the blockaded coastal enclave has warned numerous times that health facilities and services will soon be forced to cease operation due to a severe fuel crisis.
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