Gaza Struggles to Handle Rising Death Toll: Makeshift Morgues in Ice Cream Trucks

Rising casualties in Gaza prompt unconventional measures. Makeshift morgues in ice cream trucks cope with the overwhelming toll. A glimpse into the crisis.

Oct 15, 2023 - 10:54
Oct 15, 2023 - 10:54
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Gaza Struggles to Handle Rising Death Toll: Makeshift Morgues in Ice Cream Trucks
Gaza Struggles to Handle Rising Death Toll: Makeshift Morgues in Ice Cream Trucks

As violence surges in the Gaza Strip, health facilities face an unprecedented challenge. The Hamas-controlled region is grappling with the aftermath of intense Israeli air strikes. Hospitals are stretched thin, unable to accommodate the mounting casualties. In a desperate move, health officials are utilizing ice cream freezer trucks as makeshift morgues to temporarily house the deceased.

Dr. Yasser Ali from the Shuhada Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir Al-Balah revealed the dire situation. "The hospital morgue can only take 10 bodies, so we have brought in ice cream freezers from the ice cream factories in order to store the huge numbers of martyrs." These freezer trucks, typically used for supermarket deliveries, have been repurposed to store victims of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and the Israeli army.

Amidst the chaos, the Israeli military has announced an opportunity for Gazans to evacuate south in anticipation of a looming ground assault. This comes in response to the devastating attack launched by Hamas gunmen eight days ago, resulting in 1,300 casualties in Israel.

In Gaza, the toll of Israeli air strikes continues to escalate. Reports indicate that over 2,300 individuals have lost their lives, with children accounting for a quarter of the casualties. Additionally, nearly 10,000 people have been wounded. Hospitals are facing critical shortages of essential supplies, struggling to provide adequate care for the growing number of injured.

Israel's commitment to dismantling Hamas remains resolute, particularly after the violent incursion into Israeli towns on October 7th, where indiscriminate shootings claimed numerous lives and hostages were taken. Consequently, the death toll in Gaza is expected to rise significantly.

Dr. Ali painted a grim picture of the situation, "Even with these freezers, the number (of the dead) exceeds the capacity of this main morgue of the hospital and alternative ones, and between 20 and 30 bodies are being kept in tents too." He opened the freezer doors, revealing rows of white-shrouded bodies.

As the crisis deepens, finding suitable resting places for the deceased has become a pressing concern. Cemeteries are already at full capacity, necessitating the creation of new burial sites. In Gaza City, preparations for mass graves are underway, as confirmed by Salama Marouf, head of the Government Media Office. "In light of the large number of martyrs inside the morgues of Al-Shifa Hospital, whose relatives did not arrive to bury them, signs of change began to appear on the bodies... And in light of the continued arrival of martyrs in their dozens as a result of the occupation’s massacres, a mass grave has been prepared to bury approximately 100 martyrs in the emergency cemetery.”

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