Bashar Murad

Care in war

2 minute read

Since the war between Israel and Hamas began in October 2023, Gaza’s health care system has been crippled by Israeli airstrikes. As of early March, according to the International Rescue Committee, only a dozen of Gaza’s 36 hospitals remained even partially functional—at a time when demand for medical services is off the charts because of the continuing conflict.

To help fill that void, the Palestine Red Crescent Society—a chapter of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global humanitarian network—has stepped up to provide first aid, medical treatment, humanitarian aid, and psychosocial support to the Palestinian people. And Dr. Bashar Murad, the group’s executive director, is overseeing it all.

Under Murad’s leadership, the Palestine Red Crescent Society performed emergency first aid on almost 18,000 injured people in the Gaza Strip from October 2023 to March 2024, while also providing community health care to more than 162,000 people and mental-health support to almost 60,000. The group has done this by maintaining a network of medical centers and relief camps (where people can also get food, water, and hygiene supplies) throughout Gaza, and by operating a fleet of ambulances that can respond to emergency situations. Although it has been forced to close or move some of its operations because of destruction in Gaza, the group continues to provide some of the most robust—and sorely needed—medical services currently on the ground.

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