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Wounded Children From War-Torn Gaza Airlifted To UAE Hospitals Urgent Medical Treatment

The dead in Gaza include 5,000 children, according to the Hamas-controlled area’s health ministry (File)

Abu Dhabi:

A Palestinian child is carried on a stretcher onto a plane to Abu Dhabi, clutching a surgical glove that has been blown up as a makeshift toy. He was one of the first refugees from the Gaza war to seek emergency treatment in the United Arab Emirates.

At midnight at Egypt’s El Arish airport, near the Rafah border crossing from Gaza, a child cautiously flashes blue lights from the back seat of one of six yellow ambulances waiting near the runway. carried to.

A hydraulic platform lifts wheeled stretchers to the back of the plane, carrying eight children in various stages of injury and distress, some accompanied by relatives.

They are the lucky ones who have fled the dangers and trauma of the Israel-Hamas war to a quiet, well-equipped hospital in Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the UAE.

After Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, Israel vowed to annihilate the militants and counterattacked with punitive air and ground strikes, Israeli officials said. Hamas says 12,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip.

The death toll in Gaza includes 5,000 children, an average of about 122 deaths per day, and 30,000 injured, according to the Hamas-controlled region’s health ministry.

The first group of evacuated children who arrived in Abu Dhabi early Saturday morning are the first of 1,000 to be airlifted to the UAE for medical assistance.

Some of the children suffered fractures to their spines and others to broken legs. Some have suffered burns and others need emergency treatment for cancer.

Two more seriously injured people were not on board and were scheduled to join the next flight. Humanitarian airlifts of children could now be carried out daily, aid workers told AFP.

“Lose your life”

Mohammed Al Kaabi of the Emirates Red Crescent Humanitarian Group described the situation in Gaza as “catastrophic”, adding: “With injuries, hospitals closed and medicines in short supply, we are “We want to carry out evacuations every day.”

“God willing, within the next week we will evacuate as many people as we can because time is precious and there are lives we are losing.”

Arriving in Abu Dhabi in the morning light, a young boy with his legs immobilized and bandaged and a tired look on his face flashed two fingers in the “victory” sign and waited. He was taken away by a white ambulance.

Another boy, about 3 years old, clutching a white milk bottle, his right leg bandaged, cries as he is wheeled around the camp in a wheelchair.

The airlift is one of many humanitarian efforts by the UAE, one of the few Arab states that recognizes Israel and which has struggled to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

The UAE sent 51 planes carrying 1,400 tonnes of food and relief supplies as part of a $20 million aid package, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Gaza’s hospitals are already inadequately equipped, lacking basic supplies and barely able to cope with the huge number of wounded in the ongoing war.

Hundreds of people fled on foot after Israel ordered the evacuation of the Gaza Strip’s main hospital, al-Shifa, on Saturday. A search is underway at the hospital for a Hamas operations center believed to be located underground.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)