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Gaza health ministry warns of ‘unprecedented’ shortage of medicines, medical supplies

A child receives medical care in a hospital in Gaza [File photo]
A child receives medical care in a hospital in Gaza [File photo]

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip said on Tuesday it was facing an “unprecedented” shortage of essential medicines and medical supplies.

“The medical crisis in hospitals and health centres is the most difficult during the years of the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry’s annual requirement of medicines and medical supplies amounts to $40 million, however during the first half of this year, only $10 million was available for medicines and medical supplies.

The statement noted that the shortage deprived 50 per cent of patients in the Gaza Strip from treatment.

It called on all parties to take urgent and effective measures to provide essential medicines for patients with cancer, blood diseases, kidney failure, neurological and psychological illnesses as well as chronic diseases.

READ: Palestinians in Gaza, the deal of the century and dwindling living conditions 

The Gaza Strip has suffered under a more than 12-year siege at the hands of Israel, with support from Egypt and the international community. Goods, food, aid, construction materials and other essentials have not been allowed into the Strip and people have been left unable to leave even to access medical care.

The General Federation of Palestinian Labour Unions reported last year that as a result of the siege, unemployment in the enclave almost doubled to 50 per cent, rising from 27.2 per cent before 2007.

Due to the ban on the entry of fuel, Gaza’s sole electricity plant has been forced to shut down leaving civilians with only 4 hours of electricity a day; further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis.

A report released by the UN last month raised concerns that the Strip is “de-developing” faster than anticipated, such that the 2020 deadline by which it was said that Gaza would be “unliveable” may have already arrived.

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