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UN agencies voice anger at Gaza hospital attacks, depravation

December 19, 2023 at 4:08 pm

A view of damage after Israeli army hit the pediatric department of Nasser Hospital in Gaza’s Khan Younis city on December 17, 2023 [Belal Khaled – Anadolu Agency]

UN officials voiced anger and disbelief, on Tuesday, about the situation in Gaza hospitals, where injured people do not have basic supplies and children recovering from amputations are being killed in the ongoing conflict, Reuters reports.

Nearly three-quarters of Gaza’s hospitals, or 27 of 36, are out of action due to damage in attacks, Israeli raids and lack of fuel and staff, the WHO says. Those still open are only partly functional and under growing pressure due to both strikes and growing numbers of sick and injured patients arriving.

“I’m furious that children who are recovering from amputations in hospitals are then killed in those hospitals,” said James Elder, spokesperson for the UN children’s agency.

He added that the Nasser Hospital, the largest operational hospital left in the enclave where he spent time earlier this month, had been shelled twice in the past 48 hours. He said one of the victims was a 13-year-old amputee named Dina who survived a strike on her home that killed her family.

“So where do children and families go? They’re not safe in hospitals, they’re not safe in shelters and they’re certainly not safe in so-called safe zones,” he said.

Margaret Harris, World Health Organisation spokesperson, described the situation in Gaza hospitals as “unconscionable”. Only about 30 per cent of the 20,000 pre-conflict health staff are working now due to deaths, injuries and detentions, she said.

“The very basics, they do not have them. One of my colleagues described people lying on the floor in severe pain, in agony but they weren’t asking for pain relief. They were asking for water,” she said.

“It’s beyond belief that the world is allowing this to continue.”

READ: US poll: most Americans disapprove of Biden’s management of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza