Hundreds of displaced people camp in temporary shelters in the vicinity of Nasser hospital, southern Gaza. Gaza Strip, Palestine

Displaced people forced to evacuate have nowhere to go in Gaza

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) strongly condemns the decision by Israeli Forces to issue an evacuation order to thousands of displaced people sheltering inside Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, the largest medical facility in southern Gaza.

On 13 February, an Israeli military bulldozer destroyed the north gate of the hospital grounds and ordered displaced people to leave through it. Medical staff and patients were told they may remain in the hospital with a limit of one caretaker per patient. MSF staff are still in the building and continue to treat patients amid near-impossible conditions.

Palestinian MSF doctors treat displaced people in Gaza.
Palestinian MSF doctors discussing before operation for war injured inside Nasser hospital in November 2023

Following weeks of heavy fighting near Nasser Hospital, medical staff, patients, and displaced people found themselves trapped inside the compound with very little access to essential supplies. Many people who were wounded by the intense bombing in Khan Yunis were also unable to reach the hospital for emergency care.

According to information available to MSF teams, in the past days, at least five people have been killed and ten others wounded after shots were fired directly at the hospital.

“People have been forced into an impossible situation: stay at Nasser hospital against the Israeli military’s orders and become a potential target or exit the compound into an apocalyptic landscape where bombings and evacuation orders are part of daily life,” said Lisa Macheiner, MSF project coordinator in Gaza. “Hospitals should be considered as safe places and shouldn’t even be evacuated in the first place.”

Palestinian men and children are carry water bottles in Tal Al-Sultan, a neighborhood in the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

The dire situation in Rafah, Gaza.

Lisa Macheiner, MSF Project Coordinator in Gaza, describes the dire situation in Rafah. MSF teams currently provide post-operative care at the Rafah Indonesian Field Hospital in Rafah.

Since the war in Gaza began, our medical teams and patients have been forced to evacuate nine different healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip after coming under fire from tanks, artillery, fighter jets, snipers and ground troops or being subject to an evacuation order. Medical staff and patients have been arrested, abused and killed. The provision of healthcare and scaling up lifesaving assistance is being made impossible by the intensity of Israel’s bombings and shelling, as well as intense fighting.

Warring parties must always respect and allow unhindered access to medical facilities and their surroundings and protect medical staff and patients.

MSF reiterates its call for an immediate ceasefire that will spare the lives of civilians, allow adequate and vital access to food and other basic commodities, and re-establish the healthcare system on which the survival of the people of Gaza depends.