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My heart is in Gaza: Testimony of Doctors Without Borders nurse

Nov. 8, 2023
An American nurse who worked in Gaza for over a month is speaking out about the horrible conditions in which Palestinian residents are forced to live. This report is culled from and

Emily Callahan, a nurse activity manager for Doctors Without Borders, had been in Gaza since August. She was flown back to the United States last week.

“I obviously have a sense of relief that I’m home and with my family and feel safe for the first time in 26 days,” she told Anderson Cooper on CNN. “And I’m having a really hard time finding any joy in any of it,” she told the anchor. “Because me being safe is the result of having to leave people behind.”

She recalled her team being forced to transfer to a refugee camp in the south, which was already overcrowded with 35,000 internally displaced persons. The camp, which today houses 50,000 people, was so limited in resources that inhabitants only had access to water for two hours out of every twelve. According to Callahan, hospitals were so overcrowded that they had to discharge individuals immediately after treating them, resulting in people, particularly youngsters, roaming around the camp with unhealed burns or fresh amputations.

Callahan also emphasised the sacrifices made by her Palestinian comrades to ensure the survival of her and other international doctors and nurses. This includes locating food and water when supplies ran out and assisting in getting them onto evacuation buses.

“We would have died within a week without them,” she went on to say. Some of Callahan’s Palestinian co-workers opted to remain in Gaza rather than flee. When they received the evacuation orders, Callahan texted to ask whether they would relocate south. “The only response I received was, ‘This is our community. This is our family. These are our friends. If they’re going to kill us, we’re going to die saving as many people as we can,’” she said.

When asked if she would go back to Gaza, Callahan said, “In a heartbeat.” My heart belongs to Gaza. It will remain in Gaza.”


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