An American nurse who recently returned to the United States after working in Gaza has provided a compelling firsthand account of the dire situation in the region to CNN. Emily Callahan, a nurse activity manager for Doctors Without Borders, had been stationed in Gaza since August but was evacuated on Wednesday.
During her interview with CNN, Callahan shared her experiences of working in Gaza and the extreme challenges faced by both healthcare professionals and the Palestinian population living in perilous conditions amid the ongoing conflict with Israel.
Describing the situation on the ground, Callahan painted a distressing picture of the conditions faced by thousands of Palestinians, including children with severe burn injuries. She noted that due to the overwhelming caseload and limited resources in Gaza’s hospitals, many patients were being discharged prematurely, with inadequate access to necessary facilities.
“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,” Callahan said.
Furthermore, she highlighted the abysmal living conditions in Gaza’s refugee camps. “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, and they’re given two hours of water every 12 hours,” Callahan explained.
Tragically, Callahan revealed that one of her colleagues, a fellow nurse, lost their life during the initial weekend of counter-strikes following severe terrorist attacks launched by Hamas against Israel on October 7. She stated, “He was killed when the ambulance outside the hospital was blown up.”
The conflict in the Gaza Strip, initiated by Israel with a series of relentless and continuous airstrikes after declaring hostilities against Hamas on October 8, has taken a heavy toll on both Palestinian civilians and Israeli citizens. According to Gaza officials, there have been more than 10,000 reported Palestinian fatalities and thousands of injuries. On the Israeli side, there have been over 1,400 casualties, as the conflict continues to disrupt the lives of people in the region.
The situation in Gaza remains a matter of international concern, with calls for a ceasefire and humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population. Emily Callahan’s firsthand account provides a stark reminder of the human cost of this ongoing conflict.