Red Cross says Gaza health crisis of ‘unprecedented magnitude’

Robert Mardini, Regional Director the Near and Middle East ICRC,M speaks during a press conference on the situation in Gaza, at the International Red Cross, ICRC, headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, May 31, 2018. (AP)
Updated 01 June 2018
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Red Cross says Gaza health crisis of ‘unprecedented magnitude’

  • At least 122 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the unrest that flared up at the end of March.
  • More than 13,000 Palestinians have been wounded, including more than 3,600 by live ammunition, some multiple times, and there had been nearly 5,400 limb injuries.

GENEVA: The Red Cross warned Thursday that Gaza was facing an "epic" crisis, after weeks of violence has left more than 13,000 Palestinians wounded, overwhelming an already disastrously weak health system.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was stepping up its assistance in the beleaguered Palestinian enclave, and was sending in two surgical teams, additional medical specialists and supplies to help face the crisis.
"The recent demonstrations and violent activities along the Gaza border... have triggered a health crisis of unprecedented magnitude," Robert Mardini, who heads the ICRC's Near and Middle East operations, told reporters.
At least 122 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the unrest that flared up at the end of March. No Israelis have been killed.
More than 13,000 Palestinians have been wounded, including more than 3,600 by live ammunition, some multiple times, and there had been nearly 5,400 limb injuries, ICRC said.
Mardini's comments came as calm appeared to return to the Gaza Strip and nearby Israeli communities following the worst military flare-up in the area since a 2014 war, raising fears of yet another full-blown conflict in the narrow strip.
Mardini said that in the seven weeks since the demonstrations and violence began "we have exceeded the wounded caseload of the August 2014 war".
"This did not happen in a vacuum," he said. "This epic health crisis took place against the backdrop of multiple, protracted, chronic crises affecting all sectors of life in Gaza."
Warning that the Gaza health system was on "the brink of collapse", he said ICRC would boost its assistance over a six-month period to reinforce medical facilities "which are clearly struggling to cope".
Of the thousands wounded, some 1,350 people have complex injuries and will require between three and five surgeries each, Mardini said.
That is "a total of more than 4,000 surgeries, half of which will be carried out by ICRC teams," he said. "I think such a caseload would overwhelm any health system in the world."


Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

Updated 18 June 2019
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Former Egyptian president Morsi buried in Cairo: lawyer

  • Morsi, was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention, says state TV
  • The former president died aged 67

CAIRO: Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi was buried on Tuesday in eastern Cairo, one of his lawyers said, a day after he collapsed in court and died.

“He was buried in Medinat Nasr, in eastern Cairo, with his family present. The funeral prayer was said in Tora prison hospital” where he was declared dead on Monday, his lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said.

Egyptian state television announced that Morsi, 67, who was ousted by the military on July 3, 2013, had been attending a court session at his trial on charges of espionage and links with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

It was reported that he collapsed in the courtroom inside a glass cage he and others had been sharing, before his body was transferred to a local hospital.

Morsi died from a sudden heart attack, state television reported early on Tuesday, citing a medical source. The source said the former president, who was suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention.

Attorney-General Nabil Sadiq issued a statement saying: “The accused, Mohammed Morsi, in the presence of the other defendants inside the cage, fell unconscious, where he was immediately transferred to the hospital.

“The preliminary medical report stated that by external medical examination they found no pulse, no breathing, and his eyes were unresponsive to light. He died at 4:50 p.m. and no apparent injuries to the body were found.”

Sadiq added he had ordered the transfer of teams from the Supreme State Security Prosecution Office and the Southern Cairo Prosecution Office to conduct an investigation into Morsi’s death, and to examine surveillance footage from the courtroom and collect witness testimonies.

He also ordered that a senior forensic committee headed by the chief medical officer and the director of forensic medicine to prepare a forensic report on the cause of death.

Various outlets say that a state of high alert has been issued by the military and the Ministry of the Interior throughout the country following the news, for fear of riots or activity by the Muslim Brotherhood, in which Morsi was a prominent figure.

Morsi became president in June 2012 after the first democratic elections in the country following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak on Jan. 25, 2011. He was Egypt’s fifth president.

He was born to a family of farmers on Aug. 20, 1951, in the village of Al-Adwa in Sharkia province. He married in 1978 and leaves behind his wife, five children and three grandchildren.

Following his deposition and arrest, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on Oct. 22, 2016, over bloody clashes that took place on Dec. 5, 2012 in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and opponents of Morsi rejecting a constitutional declaration issued in November of that year.

Other sentences meant his total incarceration could have been up to 48 years, with the ongoing espionage case potentially carrying a further maximum sentence of 25 years.

In Istanbul on Tuesday, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets, mourning former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi and some chanting slogans blaming Cairo authorities for his death.

* With AFP