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WHO chief voices concern over safety of patients, staff in Gaza Al-Awda Hospital

May 21, 2024 at 1:54 pm

A view from the surroundings of damaged Al-Awda Hospital after Israeli attacks, in Beit Lahia, Gaza on 18 May, 2024 [Mousa Salem/Anadolu Agency]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) chief, on Tuesday, expressed concern over safety of patients and staff in Gaza’s besieged Al-Awda Hospital, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza has been under siege since 19 May, with no one allowed to leave or enter; 148 hospital staff, 22 patients and their companions are still trapped inside,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X.

Tedros noted that medical staff inside the hospital reported an attack on Monday, “with snipers aiming at the building and an artillery rocket hitting the fifth floor, where the administration department is located.”

No injuries were reported, he added.

“We are deeply concerned about the safety of the remaining patients and hospital staff,” he said, adding: “We appeal for their protection, for humanitarian access and an immediate ceasefire.”

He added that a WHO team regularly visited the hospital in late April to deliver medical supplies and fuel, transfer critical patients and deploy an emergency medical team to support health workers there. However, he said, the emergency medical team was relocated on 13 May due to intensified hostilities.

Israel has killed more than 35,500 Palestinians in Gaza since a 7 October cross-border incursion by Hamas that claimed 1,200 lives. The air and ground attacks have reduced the Palestinian enclave to rubble, leading to mass internal displacement and a shortage of basic necessities.

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.

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