Two Gaza Strip hospitals announced on Saturday they do not intend to evacuate despite an ultimatum from the Israeli military for residents to move southward by 4pm (Israel time), according to the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) rights group.
The IDF has issued a directive urging the evacuation of the northern Gaza Strip, possibly in anticipation of a ground incursion. Meanwhile, Hamas called on residents to remain in place, labeling the directive as “Israeli propaganda."
The Kamal Adwan Children’s Hospital and Al Awda Hospital in the northern Gaza Strip have informed the military that they do not intend to comply with the order to evacuate to the southern part of the Palestinian enclave.
The decision comes amid reports of deteriorating conditions in the hospitals and the use of refrigerated food trucks to store bodies in southern Gaza as mortuaries at medical centers are at full capacity.
According to information obtained by MSF, the hospital is currently unable to transfer patients via ambulance, and at present, there is no alternate hospital in Gaza ready to accept them. Dr. Ahmed Kahlout, the director of the hospital, informed Israeli military officials—who called to demand an immediate evacuation—that he has no intention of doing so without a structured evacuation plan in place.
A similar incident occurred at Al Wada Hospital on the outskirts of Jabalia in the north-central Gaza Strip. The hospital's director Dr. Ahmed Mahana received a phone call from a military official Friday night and was requested to evacuate the facility within two hours. The hospital's administration is refusing to do so and has communicated this decision to the military. Approximately 20 patients are hospitalized there.
There are six hospitals and 25 health facilities (clinics, medical laboratories and health ministry drug warehouses) operating in the northern Gaza Strip which have been receiving calls from IDF officials since the morning hours on Saturday to evacuate their premises and move southward.
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesman Salim Oweis called for a humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the creation of safe corridors to reach children and families in need of support.
In response to the Israeli military's call for Gaza residents to evacuate, he said, “These calls represent a dangerous escalation in the humanitarian situation. We are talking about approximately a million people in northern Gaza, who have no safe place to go.”
UN officials and aid organizations have warned of a humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave, while Gaza’s health ministry reported that around 2,215 people have been killed and approximately 8,714 have been injured in territory in the conflict so far.