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Epidemic risk high in Gaza due to garbage piled in streets

October 15, 2023 at 4:03 pm

Garbage bags are seen outside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza on October 15, 2023 [Montaser Alsawaf/Anadolu Agency]

Garbage piled up outside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza due to failure in municipal services, which creates a risk of epidemic in the conflict-hit region.

Thousands of Palestinians took shelter at the hospital after they were displaced by Israeli airstrikes.

However, garbage bags outside the hospital may lead to bigger troubles for people fighting for their lives.

Amid an Israeli order to evacuate the region and continued bombardment, 70% of the population in north Gaza is now deprived of health care, the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip announced on Sunday.

“After the UN evacuated its centers and stopped providing health care, 70% of the population in North Gaza in now deprived of medical care,” said a ministry statement.

On Friday, the Israeli army ordered over 1 million people to evacuate north Gaza for the southern strip, with a ground operation seen as likely soon.

The order was widely condemned, with the UN and other international actors warning it would lead to a humanitarian catastrophe, and hospitals in Gaza saying many patients were not well enough to travel.

The strict Israel blockade of Gaza since last week – cutting off water, electricity, food, and medical supplies – is also taking a heavy toll on healthcare providers.

WATCH: Palestinians in Gaza line up at a hospital fountain as Israel cuts off water access

In a dramatic escalation of Middle East tensions, last weekend Israeli forces launched a sustained military campaign against the Gaza Strip, a response to a military offensive by the Palestinian group Hamas in Israeli territories.

The conflict began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel, a multi-pronged surprise attack including a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel via land, sea, and air.

Hamas said the operation was in retaliation for the storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem and Israeli settlers’ growing violence against Palestinians.

The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets within the Gaza Strip.

Israel’s response has extended into cutting water and electricity supplies to Gaza, further worsening living conditions in an area that has suffered under a crippling siege since 2007.