PARIS, FRANCE — More than 20,000 wounded people are still trapped in the Gaza Strip, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), despite initial evacuations of foreign passport holders and badly injured Palestinians across the border to Egypt.
MSF noted the evacuations of “a number of severely injured” people in a statement on Wednesday, saying that its 22 international staff members in Gaza had also been among those who left the territory via the Rafah border crossing.
“However, there are still over 20,000 injured people in Gaza with limited access to healthcare due to the siege,” it said.
MSF’s Palestinian staff were still offering care in the territory, it added, and another international team was waiting to enter the territory to replace those who left “as soon as the situation allows”.
The organisation went on to call for a greater number of people to be evacuated, as well as for a ceasefire and for more critical aid to be allowed in.
“Those who wish to leave Gaza must be allowed to do so without further delay. They must also be allowed the right to return,” the statement said.
AFP reporters at Gaza’s southern border on Wednesday saw ambulances whisking away wounded evacuees to Egyptian field hospitals, with Egyptian officials saying the Rafah crossing had admitted 335 foreigners or dual nationals and 76 seriously wounded and sick people.
Israel has relentlessly pounded Gaza in retribution for the worst attack in its history, in which Hamas gunmen stormed across the border and killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.
The bombing campaign has killed 8,796 people, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.
The United Nations and aid groups have sounded the alarm on the catastrophic humanitarian situation inside the Gaza Strip, with food, fuel and medicine for its 2.4 million residents all in short supply.
The head of the UN agency that works to help Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, managed to reach the territory on Wednesday via the Rafah crossing, telling journalists there he had “never ever seen” anything like it.
“I was shocked by the fact that everyone there was asking for food, was asking for water,” said Lazzarini, the most senior UN official allowed into the besieged territory since the war began.
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