A never-ending nightmare for Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. In addition to the bombs, hunger, disease and displacement from their homes, they have to deal with the tragic situation that exists in the hospitals.
In this context, the World Health Organization underlined that overall health services in the Gaza Strip have suffered catastrophic damage, with most hospitals no longer functioning.
“We now have 1.7 million people displaced, so we have double or triple the population (in southern Gaza), using a third of the hospital beds, in less than a third of the available hospitals,” the World Health Organization official said. Michael Ryan (executive director of the Health Emergencies Program), capturing only a slice of the grim reality.
“Even if tomorrow morning, this ended in terms of a ceasefire, we would still have a huge problem,” he stressed, during a United Nations briefing, speaking from Geneva.
Ryan said health services are unable to provide care for more complex medical cases – including caring for cancer patients or those on dialysis – and will likely be “overwhelmed” by the roughly 5,500 births expected next month.
He meaningfully pointed out that the Israeli army’s plans to apply “pressure” in the southern areas as well, will further worsen the health conditions. “The state of the hospitals – the state of the primary health care system – in Gaza is catastrophic … and it’s the worst you can imagine (in) the north,” Ryan concluded.
The above report came hours after a shell hit the second floor of a hospital in northern Gaza, killing 12 people, according to the Hamas Health Ministry and a doctor, who blamed Israel for the strike. For its part, the Israeli army denied that it bombed the hospital.
Heavy fighting also broke out around the Indonesian Hospital, which has been hosting thousands of patients and displaced people for weeks.
The fighting came a day after the WHO removed 31 premature babies from al-Sifa Hospital in Gaza City, the territory’s largest. Inside it were more than 250 seriously ill or injured people who were trapped there, a few days after the Israeli forces invaded the area.
Israel claims that Hamas is using civilians and hospitals as shields, while its critics (including international organizations) point out that the relentless airstrikes amount to collective punishment of the region’s 2.3 million Palestinians, which began after the strike Hamas in southern Israel on October 7.
► International organizations speak clearly about the killing of civilians and war crimes:
→ At least 13,300 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli shelling of the Gaza Strip since October 7, according to a statement released by the Hamas government’s press office. Among the dead are 5,600 children and 3,550 women. About 31,000 people have been injured and at least 6,500 people are missing, of which 4,400 are women and children.