Health and humanitarian disaster rapidly unfolding in Gaza, warns UN

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A health and humanitarian disaster of widespread proportions is rapidly unfolding in the Gaza Strip, senior UN officials in the region have warned.

The Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt), UNRWA and WHO released a joint statement on Sunday.

After more than three weeks of intense conflict, the statement reads, Gaza's medical services and facilities are on the verge of collapse.

One third of hospitals, primary healthcare clinics and ambulances have been damaged in the fighting.

At least five medical staff have been killed in the line of duty and tens have been injured. Forty per cent of medical staff are unable to get to work because of the fighting.

Meanwhile, half of all public health primary care clinics are closed. Najjar Hospital in Rafah remains closed due to nearby fighting.

The hospitals and clinics that are still functioning are overwhelmed.

Since the outbreak of fighting in Gaza, over 8000 people have reportedly been injured, many seriously.

The UN officials say they are gravely concerned over the lack of protection for medical staff and facilities, and the deteriorating access to emergency health services.

According to international law, parties to the conflict have to respect hospitals and medical facilities as protected objects, the UN humanitarian coordinator Mr James Rawley recalls.

The parties must also ensure the protection of civilians and respect the fundamental human right to health, he adds.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’39”


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