How will a child with diabetes survive Israel’s genocidal war?

Health workers are doing their best to provide care in an intolerable situation. 

Bashar Taleb APA images

Like so many others, I have been forced to leave my home in Gaza City.

Three weeks after doing so and moving to a totally unfamiliar neighborhood in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, I decided to volunteer for the mobile team of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS).

PMRS is one of the largest local health charities. It has continued to provide people with the support they need despite the logistical and security difficulties.

I wanted to help people as much as I could.

On 5 November, a PMRS ambulance came to pick me up. We then drove for 15 minutes to a warehouse in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis so that we could get fuel for the ambulance.

PMRS – along with many governmental bodies and independent charities – had saved up a stock of fuel to run operations at times of emergencies.

As Israel has blocked the entry of fuel into Gaza since 7 October, it is now very scarce.

The ambulance driver told me that the amount of fuel available was only enough to cover PMRS operations for a few more days. Unfortunately, there was no way of replenishing the stock of fuel.

The driver did not know what to do once the fuel ran out.

As we drove around, I saw hundreds of men and women standing in long lines in front of bakeries. The driver told me that they stand for hours waiting to get some bread for their children.

We visited a facility in the western part of Khan Younis belonging to the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA). More than 30,000 people had taken shelter in it.

The center was only really able to accommodate 1,500 people during an emergency. People had poured into it in vast numbers, hoping they would be safe there.

At the shelter, a man approached us asking if we could help provide his 10-year-old daughter with insulin.

His daughter has type 1 diabetes and had been a patient at a PMRS chronic disease center in Gaza city. Because of the war declared by Israel, she was no longer able to go for her regular checkups and blood tests.

It broke my heart that we could not help this girl. The insulin supplies are in a PMRS warehouse in Gaza City.

No one can reach it now.

Makeshift tent

The shelter has become a home to doctors, engineers, pharmacists, bank managers, even charity directors. They have no other place to go to.

In front of the shelter, street vendors were selling everything from food to cleaning supplies and clothes.

I ran into a friend of mine and her family. They had moved from their spacious home to live in a tent measuring 10 meters squared.

It is a makeshift tent they built using furniture such as desks, tarpaulin, boxes and sheets of cloth.

People staying in these shelters have very limited access to food and water, and they have to stand in long queues to use the bathroom.

On 15 November, a PMRS staff member left Gaza City to move south through a so-called “safe corridor.” He was instructed to bring some medicine, including insulin for patients with type 1 diabetes.

Two days later, I found out that the PMRS team had made contact with the man who approached us looking for insulin for his daughter.

His daughter received enough insulin for two or three weeks.

But what will they do when these supplies run out?

How will this girl survive another week without her insulin?

Deema Aed Yaghi is a journalist in Gaza.