WHO Reports Severe Pressure on Gaza Hospitals amid Conflict

GAZA – The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised alarms about the critical state of healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip. Ahmed Mandhari, WHO’s Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, detailed the dire situation in a virtual media briefing focused on health emergencies in occupied Palestinian territories and Sudan.

According to Jordan News Agency, the ongoing conflict in Gaza has put immense strain on the region’s healthcare system. Out of 36 hospitals, 27 have ceased operations due to the war, lack of resources, and infrastructure destruction. The remaining hospitals are providing limited emergency services under enormous pressure. Mandhari highlighted that the disruption in medical supplies, fuel shortages, and unsafe water supply exacerbates the healthcare crisis. This situation has led to a rise in diseases such as respiratory infections, jaundice, skin infections, and childhood illnesses, including measles.

Mandhari also reported that the WHO documented 178 attacks targeting health facilities in Gaza, resulting in 553 deaths and 696 injuries, including 22 healthcare workers killed and 48 injured. In light of the recent truce in Gaza, he emphasized the need for a permanent ceasefire and a political solution to the conflict.

Richard Pieperkorn, whose representative in the Palestinian territories, added that all hospitals in northern Gaza are non-functional. The remaining five hospitals in the region, although still operational, are far from being fully functional. The eight hospitals in southern Gaza are working under intense pressure.

In response to inquiries about the WHO’s role in reporting these violations, Richard Brennan, Director of the Emergency Programme at WHO’s Regional Office, clarified that while the organization collects data on attacks against healthcare facilities and condemns such acts, it does not have the mandate to file cases with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Regarding Sudan, Mandhari addressed the country’s internal displacement crisis, which has affected 6.3 million people, or 12 percent of the population, with 1.4 million seeking refuge in neighboring countries. The WHO is particularly concerned about the rapid spread of a cholera outbreak in Sudan, with seven states reporting suspected cases since September 26. The organization is supporting a vaccination campaign in Gedaref and Gezira states, aiming to vaccinate over 2.2 million people.

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