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Health sector in Gaza being slowly choked off: UN Relief chief

January 10, 2024 at 8:40 pm

Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief, gestures as he speaks during an interview with AFP at the UN Compound in Kabul on January 25, 2023 [WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images]

The UN Relief chief warned, Wednesday, that the health sector in the Gaza Strip is getting worse due to the ongoing onslaught by Israel, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The health sector in Gaza is being slowly choked off, as hospitals continue to come under fire. And what happens when the health system collapses?

“Pregnant mothers can’t deliver their babies safely. Children can’t get vaccines. The sick and wounded can’t get treatment. People die,” Martin Griffiths wrote on X. “This war needs to end.”

UN Secretary-General’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said more shelling was reported in the vicinity of the Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al Balah.

“Our humanitarian partners say that, as of yesterday, just one-fifth of the 5,000 beds needed to meet trauma and emergency needs in Gaza are available.

“And out of 77 primary health centres, more than three quarters are not functioning – leaving many people in Gaza without access to basic health services,” Dujarric told reporters.

‘Gaza’s health system is basically collapsed’

He added that 350,000 people with chronic illnesses and about 485,000 with mental health disorders continue to experience disruptions in their treatments.

Dujarric warned that 1.9 million people who have been internally displaced by the conflict are “at high risk” of communicable diseases due to poor living conditions, overcrowded shelters and lack of access to proper water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

“Gaza’s health system is basically collapsed. There are very few hospitals that are actually operational and those which are operational, operating over capacity with not enough supplies,” he said.

Israel has pounded the Palestinian enclave since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group, Hamas, on 7 October, killing at least 23,357 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring 59,410 others, according to health authorities. Around 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas offensive.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

About 85 per cent of Gazans have been displaced, while all of the population is food insecure, according to the UN. Hundreds of thousands of people are living without shelter and ⁠less than half of aid trucks are entering the Territory than before the start of the conflict.

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