Zelensky tells US House speaker: quick passage of military aid is vital

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JAKARTA: Indonesian medics who are on an emergency mission in Rafah say they are shocked at the scale of human catastrophe in Gaza, as they witness the worst scenes of suffering they have ever seen. 

A team of 11 Indonesian doctors and surgical nurses organized by the Jakarta-based Medical Emergency Rescue Committee entered Gaza last week as part of an emergency deployment led by the World Health Organization. 

They are now working at a number of health facilities in Rafah, a city on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip where over a million Palestinians have sought refuge and Israel’s deadly bombings have increased. 

“They are certainly shocked. These are medics who usually work in ordinary settings and are suddenly thrown into such heartbreaking scenes,” Sarbini Abdul Murad, chairman of MER-C’s executive committee, told Arab News on Thursday. 

In Gaza, the medical volunteers not only witness the death and injury from Israeli attacks but also famine.

“They see the extent of people fighting to get food, or they see children fighting over scraps of meals to give to their family,” Murad said. “Their consciences are being sliced open as they bear witness to these scenes that they won’t be able to forget in their lives.” 

Israeli attacks, which began in October, have killed more than 32,500 Palestinians and wounded 74,000 others, while over 1 million people in Gaza are at risk of imminent famine as Israel continues to block aid to the besieged strip.

The team of Indonesian medics is part of a larger emergency medical deployment led by the WHO and composed of members from different countries. It includes orthopedic physicians and surgical nurses to help victims of Israeli attacks who suffer injuries from bombings, missile attacks and gunshots.

A team of volunteer doctors and nurses working with the Indonesian NGO MER-C, Mar. 19, 2024. (MER-C) 

They have been struggling with the limited amount of medicines and surgical equipment in the besieged territory. 

“The medical sector in Gaza is extremely overwhelmed because of the number of victims and the fact that the number of doctors and health services available are inadequate,” Murad said.

“They handle war victims with traumatic burn injuries, and many patients have to undergo amputation as well.” 

Israel has continued to bomb Gaza and block crucial humanitarian aid, despite a UN Security Council resolution calling on Monday for an immediate ceasefire in the strip during Ramadan. 

A day after the council’s ceasefire resolution was passed, UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese said that there are reasonable grounds to believe Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

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