US nurse evacuated from Gaza says 'my heart is in Gaza,' would go back 'in a heartbeat'


Published: 2023-11-07 22:40

Last Updated: 2024-05-24 09:56

US nurse evacuated from Gaza says 'my heart is in Gaza,' would go back 'in a heartbeat'
US nurse evacuated from Gaza says 'my heart is in Gaza,' would go back 'in a heartbeat'

Emily "Cali" Callahan, an American nurse working with Doctors Without Borders, spoke with CNN's Anderson Cooper after getting evacuated from the Gaza Strip after spending several months there.

She revealed that she witnessed severe burn injuries and partial amputations among internally displaced children in Gaza.

Callahan explained, "We were relocated about five times over the course of 26 days due to security concerns."

She further detailed her experiences, stating, "When we went to below Wadi, Gaza line. And by the time we left there, there were 35,000 internally displaced people living alongside us."

Callahan recounted, "There were children suffering from severe burns on their faces, below their necks, and all over their limbs. Because the hospitals are extremely overcrowded, they are immediately discharged."

She explained the dire situation saying: "There were children with just massive burns down their faces, down their necks, all over their limbs. And because the hospitals are so overwhelmed, they are being discharged immediately after and they're being discharged to these camps with no access to running water. There's 50,000 people at that camp now and four toilets. They're given 2 hours of water every 12 hours."

She spoke about the kindness of Palestinian health workers saying: "We're watching these incredible men who have sacrificed everything for us, who have sacrificed time with their families, their own physical safety, their own water supply, they were giving to us. And we're watching them fight to get us across the border, knowing that we were not bringing them with us. And they didn't waver."

Callahan spoke about how starvation and dehydration were a real concern saying: "When I say we would have starved to death without them, I'm not exaggerating."

She explained further, "We either would have starved to death or run out of water. They (Palestinians) were the ones that negotiated all of that. Gaza is a small city, so everyone knows everyone, and they would call in favors and call their friends and say, who do you know that has food? Who do you know that's open? Where can we get this? And they would drive all over the place to find water. And when we ran out of bottled water in Gaza, they were the ones that were able to figure out that the water truck was coming here at these times. And, oh, I know this guy has a grocery store, and they still have power. Sometimes I think I can probably get something from them."

While Callahan has left Gaza and is now in the US, she continues to send a text message every morning when she wakes up, and every night before she sleeps, asking the staff she left behind in Gaza: "Are you still alive?"

She also touched upon the desperation of Gazans as they sought urgent medical care saying: "We were starting to be harassed people, desperate people who are losing loved ones right and left are angry."

She explained how their Palestinian coworkers handled the situation: "In the moments of absolute desperation of civilians, they were steadfast and calm and just talked to them and said, these people are also in the same boat that you are. They have no supplies. They also have no food and water. They are also sleeping outside on the concrete. And did it in such a beautiful way that they were able to talk them down with love and kindness. There was no violence in their heart, and it calmed everyone around them down as well."