Gaza Under Siege: WHO Calls for Protection of Civilians and Hospitals Amid Intensifying Hostilities

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Escalation in Gaza
Escalation in Gaza is seeing more dead and more reaction from International leaders

Dire Situation in Gaza: WHO’s Urgent Appeal to Protect Civilians

Once again, the safety of civilians in Gaza is under severe threat. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed grave concerns about the resumption of hostilities, including heavy bombardment in the region. WHO is urgently appealing to Israel to adhere to the laws of war by protecting civilians and civilian infrastructure, especially hospitals, amidst these escalating tensions.

Rising Health Crisis: Gaza’s Dwindling Medical Resources Under Threat

The northern part of Gaza has already witnessed significant damage, setting a concerning precedent for the south. With the health needs in the region soaring, the potential loss of more hospitals could be catastrophic. The remaining medical facilities are struggling to function without sufficient fuel, medicines, food, water, or even the necessary protection for health workers.

Evacuation and Displacement: The Growing Humanitarian Challenge in Southern Gaza

As more civilians in southern Gaza receive evacuation orders, the population is being concentrated into increasingly smaller areas. This displacement exacerbates the pressure on the already limited medical resources and facilities in these regions.

Compromised Medical Aid: WHO Struggles to Deliver Essential Supplies

The WHO and other partners face diminishing capacity to provide support due to reduced access to supplies and concerns about safety when moving supplies or staff. A critical situation emerged this morning when WHO was advised to relocate as many medical supplies as possible from a warehouse in Gaza, located in an area designated for evacuation.

Impact of Military Operations: Access to Healthcare Severely Hindered in Khan Younis

Intensifying military ground operations, particularly in Khan Younis, are cutting off thousands from essential healthcare. This situation is likely to worsen as access to the Nasser Medical Complex and European Gaza Hospital, the two main hospitals in southern Gaza, becomes increasingly difficult.

Displacement Crisis: The Alarming Surge in Internal Displacement in Gaza

About 1.9 million people, nearly 80% of Gaza’s population, are estimated to be internally displaced. The recent evacuation orders impact significant portions of the population, further straining the already precarious humanitarian situation.

Overwhelmed Healthcare Facilities: The Escalating Strain on Gaza’s Hospitals

In less than 60 days, the number of functioning hospitals in Gaza has halved. Those that remain are operating at capacities far beyond their intended limits, with some treating two to three times the number of patients they were designed to accommodate. The 12 operational hospitals in the south are now critical to the region’s healthcare system.

Healthcare on the Brink: Inside the Catastrophic Conditions at Nasser Medical Complex

A recent visit by the WHO team to the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis revealed dire conditions. The facility is overwhelmed with patients and displaced individuals seeking shelter, with many being treated on the floor due to the lack of bed capacity.

Rising Infectious Diseases: A New Health Threat Emerges Amid Conflict

Disease surveillance systems in Gaza are compromised, but there has been an increase in reports of infectious diseases, including respiratory infections, scabies, jaundice, and diarrhoea. This rise in illness is another layer of crisis in the already challenging situation.

Attacks on Healthcare: A Troubling Trend in Gaza’s Conflict

From October to November, WHO recorded an unprecedented number of attacks on healthcare facilities and personnel. These attacks on hospitals, ambulances, medical supplies, and the detention of healthcare workers highlight a disturbing trend that must be addressed.

The Path Forward: Urgent Need for a Sustained Ceasefire

The WHO and other international bodies stress that the only viable solution to this crisis is a sustained ceasefire. The protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure, particularly healthcare facilities, must be a priority to prevent further humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

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