WHO says Gaza has only 11 partially functioning hospitals out of 36

UN General Assembly is set to vote on Gaza ‘ceasefire’ today

Israel Gaza war An injured Palestinian man is rushed into a hospital following Israeli bombardment on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip | AFP

Amid intensifying Israel-Hamas war, World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed serious concerns over the hindrance its staff is subjected to during their field mission. WHO accused Israel of detaining and mistreating medical staff within Gaza Strip.

WHO has pointed out that there has been multiple instances where its workers were stopped at multiple checkpoints while carrying medical aid to hospitals. "Obstructing ambulances and attacks on humanitarian and health workers are unconscionable. Healthcare, including ambulances, are protected under international law. They must be respected and protected in all circumstances," WHO wrote in a statement.

"The difficulties faced by this mission illustrate the shrinking space for humanitarian actors to provide aid within Gaza, even though access is desperately needed to alleviate the catastrophic humanitarian situation," it added.

It further stated that the only viable solution is a sustained ceasefire, so WHO partners can work safely.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “We are deeply concerned about prolonged checks and detention of health workers that put lives of already fragile patients at risk.”

WHO described Al-Ahli Hospital as in a state of “utter chaos and a humanitarian disaster zone.” Reportedly, there are only enough resources to support 40 beds—half of its original bed capacity. There are over 200 patients at the hospital seeking treatment.

Meanwhile, a WHO representative said that Gaza only has 11 partially functioning hospitals remaining out of 36.

“In just 66 days the health system has gone from 36 functional hospitals to 11 partially functional hospitals – one in the north and 10 in the south,” said WHO representative for the Palestinian Territory told a UN press briefing.

“We cannot afford to lose any healthcare facilities or hospitals,” he said. “We hope, we plea that this will not happen," he added, reported Reuters.

However, there is no respite to the airstrikes and ground attacks, according to Palestinian media, airstrike on Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip has killed at least 20 people. Reportedly, it was the area that the Israeli military had ordered Palestinians to move to safety.

Amid Israel-Lebanon conflict, the IDF has issued a statement saying that "a suspicious aerial target" crossed into Israeli airspace from Lebanon in the north. As per the military, "the incident has concluded" after it launched several interceptors.

In another incident, on the way north, the UN convoy was inspected at the Wadi Gaza checkpoint, and ambulance crew members had to leave the vehicles for identification. Two PRCS staff were detained for over an hour, further delaying the mission. WHO staff saw one of them being made to kneel at gunpoint and then taken out of sight, where he was reportedly harassed, beaten, stripped and searched.

The PRCS staff members was released later after joint UN efforts.

Also, the UN general assembly is set to vote on Tuesday on the humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza Strip. During the UNSC meet, US had vetoed the draft resolution of Gaza ceasefire. 

(With agencies inputs)


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