Turkey said on Friday it had sent a ship loaded with field hospital equipment, ambulances and generators to Egypt to treat war casualties from Gaza, where Israeli’s devastating siege has caused a humanitarian crisis with medical care collapsing.
“A total of 51 containers of medical supplies, generators and 20 ambulances, with necessary permissions, were loaded onto a ship from Izmir’s Alsancak port and sent to Egypt,” Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
“As part of the aid, a fully equipped heavy-climate type field hospital with operating rooms and intensive-care units and inflatable type field hospitals were sent,” he said.
Footage shared by Koca in a post on social media platform X, showed ambulances, wheelchairs, boxes with medical supplies and other containers being loaded onto the ship.
The ship was expected to reach Egypt’s Al Arish port on Saturday, Koca said, with the field hospitals and ambulances to be deployed to Gaza or points closest to its Rafah border crossing with Egypt in coordination with Egyptian authorities.
Earlier on Friday, President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey had made preparations to take injured Palestinians and some patients with chronic illnesses from Gaza to its hospitals for treatment.
Speaking to reporters after a visit to Uzbekistan, he also said Turkey will make efforts to increase pressure on Israel to ensure Palestinians injured by the hostilities between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas group could be evacuated abroad.
Evacuations from Gaza through Rafah began on Nov. 1 for an estimated 7,000 foreign passport holders, dual nationals and their dependents, as well as a limited number of people needing urgent medical treatment.
Some of Gaza’s hospitals have shut down after running out of fuel to run operating theatres, while others are struggling with an unprecedented influx of wounded people and a dearth of pain relief medication.
France said on Monday it was in talks with Egypt to set up a military medical facility on the ground near Gaza that would include surgical capacities for seriously wounded people.
Egypt has itself prepared a field hospital at Sheikh Zuweid, 15 km (9 miles) from Rafah, to treat evacuees from the fighting.
Last month, Turkey sent cargo planes carrying generators, medical equipment and supplies for Gaza via the Rafah crossing.
Rafah has been the only entry point for humanitarian aid going into Gaza. On Wednesday, 106 trucks carrying food medicines and water entered, bringing the total number since Oct. 21 to 756, according to the United Nations.
But the U.N. and international aid groups say the aid provided is nowhere near the scale needed to mitigate disastrous shortages of food, drinking water, medicines and fuel in the densely populated enclave.