An American nurse who returned to the US last week after working in Gaza informed CNN on Monday that some of her colleagues opted to stay in the region despite being aware of the potential risks to their lives. Emily Callahan, a nurse activity manager for Doctors Without Borders, had been in Gaza since August and was evacuated on Wednesday.
During her CNN interview, Callahan described the challenging conditions faced by thousands of Palestinians living in unsanitary circumstances and dealing with attacks from Israel as the country engages in a conflict with Hamas.
Callahan describes unlivable conditions in Gaza
"There were children with just massive burns down their faces, down their necks, all over their limbs, and because the hospitals are so overwhelmed, they are being discharged immediately after," Callahan said.
Narrating the harrowing situation to the CNN's Anderson Cooper, Callahan said, "And they're being discharged to these camps with no access to running water. There's 50,000 people at that camp now and four toilets, and they're given two hours of water every 12 hours."
Callahan informed CNN that one of her colleagues, a nurse, lost their life during the initial weekend of counter-strikes following a series of severe terrorist attacks launched by Hamas against Israel on October 7.
Callahan said, "He was killed when the ambulance outside the hospital was blown up."
'This is our community, we are going to die saving as may people as we can'
Upon receiving the evacuation orders to depart from Gaza, Callahan mentioned that she promptly messaged her fellow hospital staff members to inquire if they would join her in leaving.
"I said, 'Did any of you move south? Did any of you get out like, are any of you coming down this way?'" she said. "And the only answer I got 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.'"
Stressing that she now worries about the safety of her colleagues every day, Callahan said, "I wake up every morning and I send out a text message and I ask, 'Are you alive?' And every night before I go to sleep I send another message that says, 'Are you alive?'"
Watch Callahan's full testimony here: