New Delhi, Nov 20: A group of 28 premature babies, originally from al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, successfully crossed into Egypt on Sunday after being evacuated from the besieged facility. The infants, transported through the Rafah crossing, are expected to undergo assessment and subsequent relocation to Egyptian hospitals.
Dr Mohamed Salama, head of the neonatal unit at al-Ahli Emirates Hospital in Rafah, where the babies were evacuated, informed the BBC that the exact destination for the infants within Egypt was unknown at this point. He mentioned that a committee from the Egyptian Health Ministry would receive and make decisions regarding their further care.
Reports indicate that Egypt’s Minister of Health was at El Arish airport, as part of the reception team for the evacuated babies.
According to Toby Fricker from UNICEF, the conditions at al-Shifa Hospital had deteriorated significantly, prompting the urgent transfer of premature babies. Unfortunately, some of the infants had already died, making the mission to evacuate them both dangerous and operationally challenging. Fricker, speaking on BBC Breakfast, described it as a “very small positive in what has been a horrific 48 hours.”
Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, where the babies were originally patients, is currently under the control of Israeli forces following intense fighting in the region.
Meanwhile, the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees has taken to social media to highlight the challenging weather conditions across the Gaza Strip. In a tweet, the agency expressed the impact of bad weather and heavy rain on the shelters, describing the situation as “unlivable.” The message emphasized the lack of options for the affected individuals, calling for humanity to prevail in addressing the crisis.
As Israel’s air strikes continue, hundreds of thousands of people in the Gaza Strip have been displaced, and many are now residing in tents. The combination of ongoing conflict and adverse weather conditions has exacerbated the plight of those seeking refuge, prompting international organizations to draw attention to the urgent need for assistance and support in the region.