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WHO warns of risk of disease spreading in Gaza

November 9, 2023 at 12:00 pm

Palestinians who left their houses and live at the Nassr hospital, are trying to live under hard conditions during food shortages as the Israeli attacks continue in Gaza City, Gaza on November 8, 2023 [Abed Zagout/Anadolu Agency]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday warned of an outbreak of infectious diseases in the Gaza Strip due to the disruption of health facilities and water and sanitation systems as a result of the Israeli bombing.

In a statement it said: “As deaths and injuries in Gaza continue to rise due to intensified hostilities, intense overcrowding and disrupted health, water, and sanitation systems pose an added danger: the rapid spread of infectious diseases. Some worrying trends are already emerging.”

It also noted that “Lack of fuel has led to the shutting down of desalination plants, significantly increasing the risk of bacterial infections like diarrhoea spreading as people consume contaminated water. Lack of fuel has also disrupted all solid waste collection, creating an environment conducive to the rapid and widespread proliferation of insects, rodents that can carry and transmit diseases.”

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The organisation stressed the need for “urgent, accelerated access for humanitarian aid – including fuel, water, food, and medical supplies – into and throughout the Gaza Strip,” adding that “all parties to the conflict must abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including health care.”

For the past 33 days, the Israeli occupation army has been attacking Gaza, resulting in the destruction of residential neighbourhoods and homes over the heads of their residents. Some 10,569 Palestinians have been killed, including 4,324 children and 2,823 women, and 26,475 injured. According to official sources, 163 Palestinians were killed and 2,280 were arrested in the occupied West Bank over the same period.