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RAFAH, GAZA - 1 NOVEMBER: Palestinians with foreign passports at Rafah Border Gate wait to cross into Egypt as the Israeli airstrikes continue for the 26th day. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Evacuations Begin from Gaza into Egypt

After a border crossing between Gaza and Egypt was allowed to open on an exceptional basis on 1 November 2023, dozens of critically injured and sick people were accepted into Egypt for treatment. Others allowed to cross into Egypt included foreign passport-holders and dual nationals, according to the United Nations.

The Rafah passenger terminal is the sole entry point not controlled by Israel, and it was closed on 7 October until its limited reopening this morning.

The World Health Organization (WHO) coordinated with Egypt’s Ministry of Health in preparation to accept medical refugees.

“Those in serious need include thousands of seriously injured civilians (many of them children); more than 1,000 people who need kidney dialysis to stay alive; more than 2,000 patients on cancer therapy; 45,000 people with cardiovascular diseases; and more than 60,000 people with diabetes,” the WHO said in a statement on social media site X (formerly known as Twitter). The humanitarian organization also called for a ceasefire.

Roughly 110 foreign passport holders were able to exit Gaza by Wednesday afternoon, according to the Palestinian Crossings Authority.

“The authority said the plan was for more than 400 foreign passport holders would be permitted to leave for Egypt. Egypt, however, has said it will not accept an influx of Palestinian refugees because of fears Israel will not allow them to return to Gaza after the war,” the Associated Press reported.

Evacuation efforts and living conditions in the area were further strained by Israeli airstrikes, one of which hit a refugee camp near Gaza City. Authorities on both sides of the border are expecting an influx of casualties to be brought to the border crossing, although the criteria for medical evacuations is not immediately clear.

Other stressors in Gaza include shortages of fuel, food, and water, plus an hours-long communications blackout, affecting mobile phone services and Internet, which can make it harder for civilians to reach safety, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

In response to Israeli orders to evacuate the northern region of Gaza, roughly 800,000 Palestinians have moved south.

For organizations considering issues dealing with evacuating personnel from a dangerous, we invite you to browse Security Management's March 2023 content package, which focused on mass evacuations.