Update: 14 May 2018
"55 dead and 2271 wounded, including 1359 wounded with live ammunition. This bloodbath is the continuation of Israeli army’s policy during the last seven weeks: shooting with live ammunition at demonstrators, on the assumption that anyone approaching the separation fence is a legitimate target. Most of the wounded will be condemned to suffer lifelong injuries."- Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, MSF representative in Palestine.
On 30th of March, the so-called “March of Return” started in Gaza, as a series of mass peaceful demonstrations which will take place until the 15th of May, a day which is celebrated as “the Nakba” for the Palestinian (the annual day of commemoration of the displacement that preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948). This year, the celebration is charged with an additional signification as US government has announced that the move of its embassy to Jerusalem will start on May 14.
Since the beginning of the March of Return, the Ministry of Health of Gaza reported 32 people killed and more than 3,700 injured, of which 1,400 by gunshot, by Israeli Defense Forces, near the buffer zone / the fence separating Gaza from Israel.MSF continues to run 3 post-operative care clinics.
Since the 13th of April, an additional MSF surgical team composed of an orthopedic surgeon, a vascular surgeon, and an anesthesiologist, intervenes to provide emergency surgical care in Al-Aqsa hospital. Another team of plastic reconstructive surgeon and anesthesiologist was already operating since 10th of April in Al-Shifa hospital. They both work in close collaboration with local MoH surgeons. Our teams have performed 35 surgeries on 28 patients.
MSF post-operative care clinics in Gaza received 515 patients injured by gunshots since the beginning of the March, of which 95% have been targeted in the lower extremities.
Our surgical team in Gaza reports these injuries by gunshot as “unusual and devastating”. They note, among other things, an extreme level of destruction of the bones and soft tissues, and disproportionate exit wounds of bullets that can be the size of a fist. The injuries are extremely complex to treat and will leave, with certainty, serious long-term consequences to the huge majority of the patients.