Gaza cancer patients await evacuation for treatment


Published: 2023-11-19 10:42

Last Updated: 2024-05-27 11:06

Gaza cancer patients await evacuation for treatment
Gaza cancer patients await evacuation for treatment

Cancer patients in Gaza wait at the Rafah crossing, seeking evacuation to Egypt and then onward to Turkey for treatment, as the war on Gaza has been raging for more than five weeks.

A patient from Khan Yunis, Mohamed Msabeih, said: "For the past three days, we've been arriving at the crossing, only to be informed each time that the necessary coordination forms haven't reached the crossing. This situation causes immense suffering for all cancer patients, affecting them psychologically, physically and financially. Furthermore, delays in treatment pose serious health risks, potentially leading to complications and the spread of the disease throughout the body, endangering the patient's life."

"We appeal to the Egyptian and Turkish leaderships to promptly take the necessary steps to facilitate our passage through the crossing because, honestly, patients are truly suffering. Some patients are unable to even stand on their feet and are confined to their chairs," he added.

Msabeih spoke about the current situation: "I used to receive treatment in Jerusalem, but since the outbreak of the war, I have been going to the Turkish hospital where I received some [chemotherapy] shots. Unfortunately, the Turkish hospital has been attacked and a significant part of it has been damaged, rendering it inoperative. As a result, treatment and access to medicines have been disrupted for all cancer patients, given that the Turkish hospital was the sole hospital for cancer patients in the Gaza Strip."

Another patient, Soliman al-Brim, said: "If they could supply us with our medications here, we would stay. Unfortunately, hospitals have run out of medicines, and the Turkish hospital was destroyed. Therefore, we are compelled to depart for Turkey to seek treatment and then return. This is the situation faced by all cancer patients waiting in the hall here."

He continued: "We have been going back and forth for the past four days. We were scheduled to travel on Wednesday but were asked to return on Thursday. However, upon returning on Thursday and Friday, the coordination forms were still not received. We've been coming every day but the Egyptian authorities have not yet sent the list, as they're waiting for coordination with Israel. The travel process has been torturous and added to the disease, it's a double ordeal."

A third patient, Hamdi Zaqut, said: "We come to the crossing every day, and it's really expensive. We pay 400 shekels daily for transportation from Nuseirat to the crossing. We have endured great suffering throughout this war. There's no treatment available here in Gaza, and we're now waiting to travel to Turkey."

A female patient, Amna Shahin, said: "We want Egypt to open the way for us and make things easier. We don't want to leave for Egypt; we are staying resilient in our homes, whether we live or die. We simply want them to facilitate the exit for patients, instead of making us wait all day."