Note posted February: I now understand that phosphorous bombs were used on the hospital as well as the UNWRA building. I think this explains some of the things which puzzled me: why putting the fire out was so difficult (they kept trying the whole night to put out the main fire, which kept expanding again every time they thought they’d done it – phosphorous fire responds to sand not water), why what I thought was rocket pieces were themselves burning even when they were on bare ground without anything to feed on, and why bits of debris kept regniting in the following days.
Friday Jan 16: Hello, I have 14 minutes of power on my laptop as have been separated from the charger…
thanks to my Manchester colleague for attempting to turn incoherent phone calls into notes for the blog – all the info is a bit confused and I hope I have a chance to write it all down for you properly soon (when?!)
Wed night: increasingly several attacks in Tel Hower area where hospital is. Knew it was our night for something to happen. Evacuated half the ambulances and crew out to Al Shifa, kept two but became impossible to leave building so did something amazing – went to sleep
Thurs morning: woke to confirm had several hits on building during night but no major damange. (To explain: Al Quds hospital is a complex really: the hospital warns/admin building, joined to the social centre which also has obstetrics and emergency underneath it at basement level, joined to the Red Crescent cultural centre building. All but the main hospital building and basement have been disfunctional since initial December 27 attacks.) Shortly after I woke, I was standing at window when a shell fell beside me outside and started fire. We began to put out fire, another strike in same place. A third strike started the fire really near the pediatric ward outside another window. Put out with pots and pans from sink.Thursday middayish: two major strikes – rocket came in through hospital wall into pharmacy. Then one came through the roof of the social centre and caused major damage and fire. Medics managed to put it out. But the time I came on the scene (having been filling water buckets) they were clearing debris, and one medic was sitting on the floor crying.
While there, heard shouting, went up stairs to see medic S covered in blood, he had just carried a little girl in from the street who snipers had shot in face and abdomen. We saw her father fall on the hospital stairs, having been shot in the leg. Mother was panicking, shouting there was another girl left behind. S, I and other medics went out to get her, found her not far away, S took her on his shoulders into the hospital. The other medics and I realised they were just the beginning of a stream of desperate people fleeing their buildings, many of which were on fire. Later I also round out that the army had gone into lots of buildings and taken all the men, I still have no news of what happened to them. People were coming to the hospital because they thought it might be safer so for fear of sniper fire we went out to escort them in our RC vests – I contacted West Bank ISM and they press released the situation and called for people to contact Israel and demand attacks on cviciliants and hospitals stop –
5 mins left –
anyway about 600 people into hospital, tanks visible during collecting them, some hours later did “walking evacuation” out of hospital as no facilities for so many, we and other staff headed back to hospital as patients still there and more families arrived to shelter, but then another missile hit the middle building and caught on fire badly, spread really quickly, medics fighting fire till ambulances came, evacauted everyone, even in beds, into street in the dark with further shooting and explosions occuring…
back today, lots of damange, fire still not out – can we continue to use as RC base or will Isreal now bomb it to dust? Medical supplies still in there –
RC having meeting now in Shifa carpark to make plans –
thanks for listening, we need you