March note: When the Telal Howa area and Al Quds hospital were under attack by the Israeli army at this point, no internet access was possible. I grabbed moments to text and call to a friend in the UK (via a fairly disfunctional mobile service) and he posted what he could here. The information is thus understandably somewhat confused – but far less so than the reality was! – and I’ve left it as is. Subsequent blog posts are clearer. My friend posted the last message at the top, so start at the bottom.
Short texts & updates from the blogger in Al-Quds hospital, Gaza City –
12:35 am GMT/02:35 Gaza time 16th January:
She has gone back to the hospital, as some of it is still left. There’s still lots of resources (medicines and the like there), and it feels like it’s important not to abandon it altogether, so five medics will stay the night there. The wards seem to have got the most damage.
Two teams, the Red Crescent Medics and the Red Crescent Disaster Management Team have already evacuated from own original building, and had been at the hospital for a few weeks now – it’s not clear where they will go or how they will function at this stage. The evacuation was to Al-Shifa hospital, though there’s no room for more patients or staff.
10:10 pm GMT/00:10 Gaza time:
The army shelled our hospital again, and we’re now evacuating everyone. We’re shifting base to a Red Cross building it seems. We’re taking people in beds, who can’t walk, and into dark streets where people were shot at earlier by snipers. 40-50 people were still sheltering in the basement, because they thought it safer than their own houses. By the time we left, bits of the ceiling were falling in on fire. Everyone is OK at the moment. There are explosions in the area still.
8:40 pm GMT/22:40 Gaza time:
The middle building of the hospital complex is on fire, following a hit by a shell on the top floor. The hospital tried to bring in the fire brigade, but the Israeli army told them they couldn’t. That particular building has no patients in, but is very close to the wards, and has a shared basement. The whole hospital is being evacuated as the fire is spreading too fast – we don’t know to where or in what kind of ‘safety’, and there are conflicting reports of whether the Israeli army is present still on the ground in that area.
Update at 5:19 pm GMT/19:19 Gaza time:
There were two more rocket strikes on hospital around lunchtime, one went through the hospital wall into the pharmacy, the other hit the neighbouring cultural centre and medics went to put the fire out there.
One family were crying on the hospital stairs – they had fled their home in fear, but the Israeli snipers shot at them, and got the father in the leg, and one daughter with the bullet going through one cheek and out the other. Two medics went to get the other daughter, but more families were out in street trying to flee to the hospital, with grown men crying in fear. Many men had been taken from flats leaving only women & children. (Israeli) snipers and (Palestinian) fighters are active in the area too. No co-ordination was possible with Israeli forces. 500 people were got to safety with white flags, with people in Israel phoning through to government and it was press released that an international (the blogger) was present. It seems that this made the difference and though the army kept firing in the vicinity, not actually on people at that time.
There was not enough space in the hospital for all the terrified people, and a few Red Cross people arrived and were talking about a walking evacuation co-ordinated with Israeli army, with two ambulances for the people who couldn’t walk. People were being evacuated to an UNRWA school, but it’s next to continuing explosions and a massive cloud of black smoke near, from burning medical supplies & fuel tanks in the UN HQ compound. Many people went to other places in the end.
Blogger heading back to hospital now. Another update later, phone networks willing.
14.45 UK time – phones still down
Still no phone contact with the blogger – we will post something as soon as we hear.
1:05 pm GMT/15:05 Gaza time:
The phone network there is still not working, so no news I’m afraid of what’s happened. Will let you know when I hear anything.
9:45 am GMT/11:45 Gaza time:
Families from neighbouring buildings trying to run to safety to hospital from fire & gunfire. Most staff wearing masks due to fear of phosphorous gas attack.
9:04 am GMT/11:04 Gaza time:
fire out window 10 yards from babies in incubators, putting out fire with pots and pans as hose does not reach.
8:51 am GMT/10:51 Gaza time:
a rocket hit the back of the hospital, where there are only houses. A fire has started. Doctors are running to put it out. A second rocket hit the same point. Doctors are running back to care for their patients & away from the rockets.
7:26 am GMT/9:26 Gaza time:
Al-Quds hospital now has army outside, snipers next door, 50 hits near us during the night and 4 hits to us. Fire in apartments behind. Wounded kids near who we can’t collect though would like to ask if I can help with this.
Al-Quds hospital, Gaza City, located in the Tel al Huwa neighbourhood of Gaza, has been under attack by the Israeli army since 1:30 AM.
“Israeli snipers are shooting at families attempting to get to the hospital. They are frightened and have no where to go. At least two families have been shot at now, children have been wounded.”
“The hospital has received over 150 calls for help from people including many children in the surrounding area who have been wounded and are in desperate need of medical care. The Israeli army has surrounded the hospital and no one is able to get in or out.”