WHO / HEALTH EMERGENCIES

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19-Oct-2023 00:09:36
The head of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said, “We call for the immediate and safe release of hostages seized and taken into Gaza by Hamas and other armed groups, among them children, older people and those who need urgent medical care. We continue to appeal to Israel and Hamas to abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilians and health care.” WHO

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STORY: WHO / HEALTH EMERGENCIES
TRT: 09:36
SOURCE: WHO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 19 OCTOBER 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE – GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Close up, exteriors, World Health Organization (WHO)

19 OCTOBER 2023, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Med shot, press briefing room

3. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“Like the rest of the world, all of us at WHO have been shocked, appalled and saddened by the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on the 7th of October that targeted Israeli civilians were horrific and unjustifiable. At the same time, WHO is gravely concerned about the health and well-being of civilians in Gaza, who are suffering from bombardment and siege.”
4. Med shot, press briefing room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“I also deplore the attacks on health care in both Gaza and Israel, which have led to deaths and injuries of health workers and patients on both sides. Under international humanitarian law, all armed actors are obliged to actively protect health care.“
6. Med shot, press briefing room
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“The bomb that struck the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday night, and the loss of life it caused, regardless of who was responsible, cannot be tolerated. Despite the airstrikes and the risks to their own security, the WHO team in Gaza has delivered lifesaving medical supplies, sufficient to care for 2000 patients. But much more is needed.”
8. Med shot, press briefing room
SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We welcome Israel’s announcement yesterday that it will not block the entry of water, food and medicines into Gaza from Egypt. Fuel is also needed for hospital generators, ambulances and desalination plants – and we urge Israel to add fuel to the life-saving supplies allowed to enter Gaza.”
9. Med shot, press briefing room
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Teresa Zakaria, Technical Officer, Health Emergency Interventions WHO:
“We are ready. We will be ready to cross the border with the trucks, five truckloads of medical supplies as soon as the border is open. That’s really what is most important, whenever the border becomes open, we will be there. As of today we have received confirmation that our supplies are indeed loaded in trucks and ready to join the convoys across the border.”
11. Med shot, press briefing room
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“It is not just crossing the border at Rafah and anyone who has ever worked in humanitarian settings knows there is a long way to go in terms of getting to a hospital facility or to a front line health centre. The roads are very badly destroyed. There is a huge issue of deconflicting those routes, so that the trucks that carry that material are not attacked in anyway or disrupted in anyway. And that the goods can be off loaded safely and then put into further storage for further distribution.”
13. Med shot, press briefing room
SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“There are absolutely no guarantees in the humanitarian situation that you can completely avoid any diversion of aid. Aid diversion is a fact, it happens. We do everything in our power to ensure that that doesn't happen.”
14. Med shot, press briefing room
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“Humanitarian assistance needs to move every day. Two-and-a-half million people need assistance. 20 trucks is a drop in the ocean of need right now in Gaza”
16. Med shot, press briefing room
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“One of the biggest needs has been blood bags. The people of Gaza have been brilliant. They have always been able to donate enough blood. It is the same in every conflict. Very often, it is not a lack of blood donors, it’s a lack of a safe way to take and give blood. So you run out of blood bags before you run out of blood. It sounds crazy doesn’t it?”
18. Med shot, press briefing room
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative, occupied Palestinian territory:
“One of the most critical items which needs to be added to the convoy is fuel. Fuel to make sure that the desalination plants can run. Fuel to make sure the bakeries can run. Fuel, to make sure that the UN and partners can actually implement the most essential operations and fuel to ensure these hospitals can sustain their operations. And can sustain lives. So, fuel is absolutely a top priority.”
20. Med shot, press briefing room
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Richard Peeperkorn, WHO Representative, occupied Palestinian territory:
“Almost 3,500 people have been killed in Gaza. Of which I just want to say almost more than a half are women and children. Over 12,000 Gazans have been injured. Again. Close to half are women and children. In the West Bank, we talk about 62 Palestinians killed and 1300 injured.”
22. Med shot, press briefing room
23. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michel Thieren, WHO special representative, Israel:
“The numbers that we have from Israel is 1400 deaths, 3500 injured. Many still recovering, still in the hospital.”
24. Med shot, press briefing room
25. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michel Thieren, WHO special representative, Israel
“The WHO offered solidarity presence and support and I visited directly affected areas, I visited affected hospitals, I visited the morgues and the national forensic institutes. I listened to the patients. I listened to the survivors. I grieved the dead.”
26. Med shot, press briefing room
27. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Michel Thieren, WHO special representative, Israel
“What Israeli is facing is a singular event, the mental health needs are immense and they are scaling up by the days. Those emergency mental health needs must be addressed. Must be addressed very quickly. And I must say that bearing witness and offering solidarity support is a key function here and does have an impact. So the situation is the situation of a trauma, a massive trauma.”
28. Med shot, press briefing room
29. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“There’s still time and opportunity to prevent the situation from escalating further. WHO supports the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”
30. Med shot, press briefing room
31. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We call for the immediate and safe release of hostages seized and taken into Gaza by Hamas and other armed groups, among them children, older people and those who need urgent medical care. We continue to appeal to Israel and Hamas to abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilians and health care. We appeal to Israel to restore supplies of electricity and water.”
32. Med shot, press briefing room
33. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“I wish to be clear that as a United Nations agency, WHO is politically impartial, and is committed to supporting the health and well-being of all Israelis and all Palestinians.”
34. Med shot, press briefing room
35. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“While the crisis in Israel and Gaza is understandably dominating our headlines, there is another crisis that is being forgotten: Sudan. Six months after the start of the fighting, the conflict in Sudan has had a devastating impact on people’s lives and health across the country and beyond its borders. More than 5.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes within and outside Sudan. Sudan’s health system was already overstretched before the war. Now it’s at breaking point. About 70 percent of hospitals in conflict-affected states are not functional.”
36. Med shot, press briefing room
37. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“People are dying from a lack of access to basic and essential healthcare and medication.
The rainy season in Sudan is further limiting access to vulnerable communities. A cholera outbreak is spreading rapidly, while other outbreaks of malaria, measles and dengue continue to take lives.”
38. Med shot, press briefing room
39. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“We need the international community to show solidarity now. We need the steadfast commitment and support of our donors to continue to strengthen the response and meet the ever-mounting needs of the people of Sudan. But the solution to this crisis is not fundamentally a humanitarian solution; it’s a political solution.”
40. Med shot, press briefing room
41. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO):
“The influenza season is approaching in the northern hemisphere, even as hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 continue to increase.”
42. Med shot, press briefing room
43. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO): “To protect yourself and your loved ones, and to help take the strain off health systems, WHO recommends vaccination against both influenza and COVID-19, especially for high-risk groups.”
44. Med shot, press briefing room
45. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical Lead Covid-19, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“Right now, the dominant variant worldwide is EG.5 which is on the increase and about 48 percent of sequences submitted globally are this particular variant of interest. And there are a number of variants around the world that are in circulation.”
46. Med shot, press briefing room
47. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical Lead Covid-19, WHO Health Emergencies Programme:
“So while COVID is only one virus that, one disease that we are dealing with. It is one that is still circulating in every country and right now we are seeing an increase in percent positivity for SARS-CoV-2 in the last several weeks and this is ahead of the northern hemisphere winter season. And it is really critical those most at risk get vaccinated for COVID, get that additional dose when it is time for you because those doses of vaccine prevent against severe disease and death.”
48. Med shot, press briefing room

STORYLINE:

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “We call for the immediate and safe release of hostages seized and taken into Gaza by Hamas and other armed groups, among them children, older people and those who need urgent medical care. We continue to appeal to Israel and Hamas to abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilians and health care.” WHO

Speaking to reporters today (19 Oct) in Geneva, Tedros said, “Like the rest of the world, all of us at WHO have been shocked, appalled and saddened by the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The attacks by Hamas and other armed groups on the 7th of October that targeted Israeli civilians were horrific and unjustifiable. At the same time, WHO is gravely concerned about the health and well-being of civilians in Gaza, who are suffering from bombardment and siege.”

He added, “I also deplore the attacks on health care in both Gaza and Israel, which have led to deaths and injuries of health workers and patients on both sides. Under international humanitarian law, all armed actors are obliged to actively protect health care.”

According to him, “the bomb that struck the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday night, and the loss of life it caused, regardless of who was responsible, cannot be tolerated. Despite the airstrikes and the risks to their own security, the WHO team in Gaza has delivered lifesaving medical supplies, sufficient to care for 2000 patients. But much more is needed.”

He also said, “We welcome Israel’s announcement yesterday that it will not block the entry of water, food and medicines into Gaza from Egypt. Fuel is also needed for hospital generators, ambulances and desalination plants – and we urge Israel to add fuel to the life-saving supplies allowed to enter Gaza.”

For her part, Dr Teresa Zakaria, Technical Officer at the Health Emergency Interventions, added, “We are ready. We will be ready to cross the border with the trucks, five truckloads of medical supplies as soon as the border is open. That’s really what is most important, whenever the border becomes open, we will be there. As of today we have received confirmation that our supplies are indeed loaded in trucks and ready to join the convoys across the border.”

The WHO’s Executive Director for Health Emergencies Programme, Dr Michael Ryan, said, “It is not just crossing the border at Rafah and anyone who has ever worked in humanitarian settings knows there is a long way to go in terms of getting to a hospital facility or to a front line health centre. The roads are very badly destroyed. There is a huge issue of deconflicting those routes, so that the trucks that carry that material are not attacked in anyway or disrupted in anyway. And that the goods can be off loaded safely and then put into further storage for further distribution.”

He continued, “There are absolutely no guarantees in the humanitarian situation that you can completely avoid any diversion of aid. Aid diversion is a fact, it happens. We do everything in our power to ensure that that doesn't happen.”

Ryan added, “Humanitarian assistance needs to move every day. Two-and-a-half million people need assistance. 20 trucks is a drop in the ocean of need right now in Gaza”

According to him, “One of the biggest needs has been blood bags. The people of Gaza have been brilliant. They have always been able to donate enough blood. It is the same in every conflict. Very often, it is not a lack of blood donors, it’s a lack of a safe way to take and give blood. So you run out of blood bags before you run out of blood. It sounds crazy doesn’t it?”

The WHO representative to the occupied Palestinian territory, Dr Richard Peeperkorn, said, “One of the most critical items which needs to be added to the convoy is fuel. Fuel to make sure that the desalination plants can run. Fuel to make sure the bakeries can run. Fuel, to make sure that the UN and partners can actually implement the most essential operations and fuel to ensure these hospitals can sustain their operations. And can sustain lives. So, fuel is absolutely a top priority.”

He continued, “Almost 3,500 people have been killed in Gaza. Of which I just want to say almost more than a half are women and children. Over 12,000 Gazans have been injured. Again. Close to half are women and children. In the West Bank, we talk about 62 Palestinians killed and 1300 injured.”
For his part, WHO’s special representative to Israel, Dr Michel Thieren, said, “The numbers that we have from Israel is 1400 deaths, 3500 injured. Many still recovering, still in the hospital.”
He added, “The WHO offered solidarity presence and support and I visited directly affected areas, I visited affected hospitals, I visited the morgues and the national forensic institutes. I listened to the patients. I listened to the survivors. I grieved the dead.”

Thieren, continued, “What Israeli is facing is a singular event, the mental health needs are immense and they are scaling up by the days. Those emergency mental health needs must be addressed. Must be addressed very quickly. And I must say that bearing witness and offering solidarity support is a key function here and does have an impact. So the situation is the situation of a trauma, a massive trauma.”

Tedros said, “There’s still time and opportunity to prevent the situation from escalating further. WHO supports the United Nations Secretary-General’s call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

He stressed, “We call for the immediate and safe release of hostages seized and taken into Gaza by Hamas and other armed groups, among them children, older people and those who need urgent medical care. We continue to appeal to Israel and Hamas to abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilians and health care. We appeal to Israel to restore supplies of electricity and water.”

The UN official added, “I wish to be clear that as a United Nations agency, WHO is politically impartial, and is committed to supporting the health and well-being of all Israelis and all Palestinians.”

WHO Director-General said, “While the crisis in Israel and Gaza is understandably dominating our headlines, there is another crisis that is being forgotten: Sudan. Six months after the start of the fighting, the conflict in Sudan has had a devastating impact on people’s lives and health across the country and beyond its borders. More than 5.8 million people have been forced to flee their homes within and outside Sudan. Sudan’s health system was already overstretched before the war. Now it’s at breaking point. About 70 percent of hospitals in conflict-affected states are not functional.”

He added, “People are dying from a lack of access to basic and essential healthcare and medication. The rainy season in Sudan is further limiting access to vulnerable communities. A cholera outbreak is spreading rapidly, while other outbreaks of malaria, measles and dengue continue to take lives.”

Tedros noted, “We need the international community to show solidarity now. We need the steadfast commitment and support of our donors to continue to strengthen the response and meet the ever-mounting needs of the people of Sudan. But the solution to this crisis is not fundamentally a humanitarian solution; it’s a political solution.”

On other issues, he said, “The influenza season is approaching in the northern hemisphere, even as hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 continue to increase.”
He added, “To protect yourself and your loved ones, and to help take the strain off health systems, WHO recommends vaccination against both influenza and COVID-19, especially for high-risk groups.”

Speaking to reporters, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, Technical Lead COVID-19, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said, “Right now, the dominant variant worldwide is EG.5 which is on the increase and about 48 percent of sequences submitted globally are this particular variant of interest. And there are a number of variants around the world that are in circulation.”

She added, “So while COVID is only one virus that, one disease that we are dealing with. It is one that is still circulating in every country and right now we are seeing an increase in percent positivity for SARS-CoV-2 in the last several weeks and this is ahead of the northern hemisphere winter season. And it is really critical those most at risk get vaccinated for COVID, get that additional dose when it is time for you because those doses of vaccine prevent against severe disease and death.”
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