UAE floating hospital begins receiving Gaza patients at Al Arish port

The repurposed vessel has a capacity of 100 beds and includes operating rooms and intensive care units

Palestinian patients arrive at the Emirati Floating Hospital in the port of Al Arish, Egypt. Victor Besa / The National
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A 100-bed floating hospital that set sail from the UAE two weeks ago docked in Al Arish port in Egypt and has begun receiving patients.

The repurposed vessel will support relief efforts for Gaza.

This floating hospital is part of the UAE's continuing humanitarian campaign – known as Gallant Knight 3 – ordered by President Sheikh Mohamed which aims to provide a vital lifeline to the people of Gaza.

“The inauguration of the hospital will enhance the medical support system that the UAE provides to the people of Gaza and alleviate the severity of the conditions they are suffering from, as the hospital has been equipped with the best and most modern equipment that contributes to providing all types of treatment and medical care according to the best standards and global protocols,” Dr Falah Al Mahmoud, director of the UAE Floating Hospital, told The National.

The hospital was established jointly between the UAE’s Ministry of Defence, the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, and the Abu Dhabi Ports Authority group, and includes about 100 medical and administrative staff specialising in anaesthesia, general surgery, orthopaedics, and emergency services.

Doctors from both the UAE and Egypt will be part of the team that will run the hospital aboard the vessel for the foreseeable future.

“Things were very difficult in Gaza and were able to finally evacuate via the Rafah border a couple of weeks ago. But my father has difficulty breathing and was receiving weekly treatments for his severe asthma in Gaza before the war,” Fatima Mohammed told The National.

“The wait times for his treatment in Al Arish have been long sometimes so for us to be able to get him treatment on this ship has made our lives a little bit easier,” she added.

The floating hospital has a capacity of 100 beds and includes operating rooms, intensive care units, radiology, a laboratory, a pharmacy, and medical warehouses.

The hospital docked off Al Arish port will complement the role of the Emirati field hospital inside Gaza which first launched in December, Dr Al Mahmoud told The National. The hospital inside Gaza currently has a capacity of 200 beds and includes a medical staff consisting of 83 volunteers of 21 nationalities, including 59 men and 24 women.

As of February 22, the Emirati field hospital has received more than 5,770 patients, most of whom required life-saving surgeries.

Dr Al Mahmoud added that the floating hospital is equipped with a helipad and a sea boat, which would enhance the response to emergencies and difficult cases that require rapid medical intervention.

Updated: February 26, 2024, 10:46 AM