by Xinhua writer Yao Bing
RAFAH, Egypt, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- As the Hamas-Israel conflict dragged on into the second month, the Rafah border crossing, the only crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, has become a "life passage" for the Gazans trapped in the besieged enclave.
The crossing plays a crucial role in evacuations and the delivery of humanitarian aid after the conflict plunged Gaza's more than two million people into a humanitarian crisis.
At the border crossing, Xinhua reporter saw trucks carrying relief supplies slowly crossing into Gaza from the Egyptian side of Rafah while several foreign passport holders and ambulances transporting the sick and wounded entered Egypt from Gaza.
"This is the only door for passing all the items ... We started from 20 trucks daily up to 100 and more trucks now, but this number is still a drop in the ocean because the number of people who are in need is huge," Lotfy Gheith, manager of the emergency operation center of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society told reporters.
Between Oct. 21 and Nov. 13, more than 120 planes carrying relief supplies arrived in Egypt from countries in South America, Asia, and Africa, Gheith said.
At the first stop of the relief supplies, Egypt's Al-Arish Airport, Xinhua reporter saw several planes carrying relief supplies landed one after another and the on-site staff and volunteers moved the supplies from the planes to the warehouse.
"As soon as we receive these shipments, we will check these shipments before uploading them and making contact with the Palestinian Red Crescent to receive them on the other side," Gheith said.
Since the outbreak of the conflict, Gheith and his team members, totaling about 600 people, have been working at the airport, the Rafah border crossing, and the Al-Arish Hospital.
Being one of the largest medical facilities in the North Sinai Province of Egypt, the Al-Arish Hospital receives Gazan patients requiring intricate surgery and those with severe wounds.
"When the patients come here, we treat them in the emergency room first, and then, depending on the severity (of their wounds), we decide whether to arrange them in the general ward or the intensive care unit," said Wagdy Amin, a doctor of the hospital.
When the patients get better, Amin says, they will be moved to other hospitals, making room for other patients or injured people.
Over 40 days into the conflict, more than 11,000 Palestinians in Gaza were killed, and the death toll on the Israeli side is around 1,200, the majority of whom were killed on the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that triggered the conflict.
Besides massive airstrikes and ground operations, Israel has also imposed punitive measures, including a siege on the enclave, with supplies of water, electricity, fuel, and other necessities being cut off.