Audio: High casualties in Gaza
7 January 2009
Transcript: Since the beginning of the land incursion into the Gaza Strip, 50 percent of casualties are reported to be women and children, according to official figures. Meanwhile, access to the wounded has become severely hampered. Members of the MSF teams have lost family members to the bombing, while others have evacuated their homes. A Palestinian MSF doctor and Cecile Barbou, the MSF medical coordinator in Gaza were interviewed by telephone on January 5. MSF doctor: "Yesterday at night they struck a local medical NGO in Gaza; they destroyed four ambulances near my neighborhood. They struck four times with an F16. One of the strikes was on a house near my building and there were 10 dead people from one family, mainly children and women. It was at exactly 6:30 today. And just one hour ago they struck a greenhouse near my building Ã?± a greenhouse for vegetables and things like this. I donÃ?t know, itÃ?s completely a strange situation and no one understands whatÃ?s going on. You know, everyoneÃ?s completely exhausted. IÃ?m exhausted because I have a family and we wake up with bombs, we sleep with bombs. And we donÃ?t know when the bombs will come." Cecile Barbou: "Since the beginning of the land incursions, four of our staff members were directly injured. One of the staff was under her house and she was able to go out without injury but she was very lucky. Another staff saw half of his family dying in front of him and had huge difficulty leaving to evacuate the rest of the family. Another staff member had her young daughter injured in the shoulder; she was operated on and she is fine. AnotherÃ?s sister was injured by a bullet in the abdomen and she was operated on and she is fine as well. But it has changed drastically. We can say that of our staff who were more or less safe in the beginning, they are now in a very, very complicated situation." MSF doctor: "In the ground operation now, the problem is that the main victims are civilians. Mostly children, and the numbers are still increasing. Now the total is more than 530 dead. About 110 or 115 are children among the dead. These figures are from the Ministry of Health. We realize that there is a big problem with access and with evacuating the wounded people and dead from the areas, and the problem is that ambulances are not able to reach these areas to evacuate. So most of the people that have died during this ground operation died after they had severe wounds and no one could help them or rescue them or take them to the hospital. "Today, the ambulances managed to evacuate the wounded from yesterday, and most of the cases are seriously wounded. They may have been moderately wounded or lightly wounded, but because of the severe bleeding and lack of access, now they are in a severe and critical situation. "For 10 days, Shifa Hospital alone has done 300 major operations. Most of the cases which were done were amputations, vascular, and orthopedic. I think all the medical staff are completely exhausted, they are doing their best, they are working 24 hours, they are not seeing their families. This could be a problem in the coming days. You know, each one has a limit."