Paris - Intense unabated fighting and shelling in Gaza City, Palestine, continue to prevent thousands of people from safely leaving the area. Over the past six days, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been trying to evacuate some of our staff and their families - 137 people, 65 of them children - currently trapped inside MSF premises located near Al-Shifa hospital. We are urgently calling for a ceasefire, which is the only way for corridors to be implemented in order to safely evacuate thousands of civilians, including MSF staff and relatives.
Since last Saturday, MSF staff and families haven’t been able to go outside because of ongoing fighting. On Tuesday 14 November, bullets were fired into the MSF guesthouse, luckily causing no casualties. Yesterday, the office building was hit by shrapnel and the guesthouse’s water tank was shelled.
Today, our staff reported high intensity fighting getting very close to them. Thousands of civilians trapped in hospitals and other places in Gaza city currently suffer the same fate and are at risk of dying in the coming days, if not hours.
“Our colleagues hear the constant sounds of gunfire, shelling, and drones,” says Ann Taylor, MSF Head of Mission in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. “We can hear it when we speak with them on the phone. The evacuation route to southern Gaza remains unsafe.”
“They are terrified, they ran out of food several days ago and children have now started getting sick from drinking salty water,” continues Taylor. “They must be evacuated now.”