Israel orders evacuation of Awda Hospital in northern Gaza where the humanitarian organisation has been working.
Médecins Sans Frontières says a hospital in northern Gaza where the humanitarian organization has been working, has been ordered by Israel to evacuate.
The Awda Hospital, in Jabalia, has been extremely busy since Israel’s retaliatory air strikes and artillery shelling of Gaza started almost a week ago.
MSF said in a post on X that the demand to evacuate had been postponed until 6 am on Saturday, local time, having previously said in an earlier post that the hospital had been given just two hours to leave.
In its initial post announcing the order, MSF said: “We unequivocally condemn this action, the continued indiscriminate bloodshed and attacks on health care in Gaza.” In its follow-up post, MSF said the “evacuation of patients remains complicated”.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said it was impossible to safely transport the many wounded from hospitals, which are already struggling with high numbers of dead and injured.
“We cannot evacuate hospitals and leave the wounded and sick to die,” spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra said.
Farsakh, of the Palestinian Red Crescent, said some medics refused to abandon patients and instead called colleagues to say goodbye.
“We have wounded, we have elderly, we have children who are in hospitals,” she said.
Al Awda Hospital was struggling to evacuate dozens of patients and staff after the military contacted it and told it to do so by Friday night, said the aid group Doctors Without Borders, known as MSF, which supports the facility.
The military extended the deadline to Saturday morning, it said.
The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, said it would not evacuate its schools, where hundreds of thousands have taken shelter. But it relocated its headquarters to southern Gaza, according to spokesperson Juliette Touma.
“The scale and speed of the unfolding humanitarian crisis is bone-chilling.
Gaza is fast becoming a hellhole and is on the brink of collapse,” said Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s commissioner general.
Pressed by reporters on whether the army would protect hospitals, U.N. shelters, and other civilian locations, Hagari, the Israeli military spokesperson, said the military would keep civilians safe “as much as we can.” But he warned: “It’s a war zone.”
Meanwhile, Palestinians fled in a mass exodus Friday from northern Gaza after Israel’s military told some 1 million people to evacuate to the southern part of the besieged territory ahead of an expected ground invasion in retaliation for the surprise attack by the ruling Hamas militant group.
However, the U.N. warned that evacuating almost half of crowded Gaza’s population would be calamitous, and it urged Israel to reverse the unprecedented directive.