Surgical nurse Elín Oddsdóttir arrived in Gaza on behalf of the Red Cross in Iceland yesterday morning. Elín will be working with a team of doctors from the International Red Cross, visir.is reports.
Þórir Guðmundsson, director of the International Department at the Icelandic Red Cross, emphasized in an interview with Stöð 2 that there is currently a lot of pressure on healthcare workers in Gaza. “There is of course a lot of risk for everyone working in Gaza and we have seen that bombs have fallen on hospitals and refugee camps in recent days,” he said.
Þórir added that Elín is experienced in working in such conditions, having for example worked in South Sudan earlier this year. “... She is doing her job in the conditions that exist there, [conditions] which are terrible for both those who are helping and no less for those people who live there,” he said.
Hospitals in Gaza have been overrun with patients in recent weeks, Þórir said. “It is so busy that hospitals which are used to receiving perhaps five to ten people per day, are getting maybe 150 people after a difficult night and need to tend to very difficult gunshot and shrapnel wounds and the like.”
The Icelandic Red Cross has previously assisted Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank through training people to become ambulance drivers for the Red Crescent as well as training psychologists to provide crisis counseling, in particular to children.