UNITED NATIONS: The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed deep concern for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced by the recent Israeli attacks in Gaza, where heavy rainfall has led to flooding, exacerbating the already dire health crisis. WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris emphasized that rain is further contributing to the suffering of people in the Strip, amplifying health risks amid disruptions in sewage pumping and water shortages.
Since mid-October, over 33,500 cases of diarrhoea have been reported, mainly affecting children under five, marking a significant increase from the monthly average. UNRWA facilities, hosting over 580,000 displaced individuals, are more than nine times over capacity, heightening health risks.
Dr. Harris pleaded for an immediate ceasefire, highlighting the challenging situation at Al-Shifa Hospital, a focus of Israeli Defence Forces operations. The hospital has been without power since November 11, facing shortages of food and clean water. Despite reported offers of incubators from the Israeli military, six premature babies have reportedly died in the past three days due to electricity shortages.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced a meeting between hostage families and its president, Mirjana Spoljaric, advocating for the release of the 238 hostages held by Hamas since October 7. The ICRC has persistently engaged with relevant authorities to address the hostage situation.
Dr. Harris condemned the documented 135 attacks on health facilities in Gaza over the past month, the highest number recorded in such a short time. She highlighted an alarming trend of attacks on healthcare, not only in Gaza but also in other ongoing conflicts, emphasizing the need to recognize hospitals as safe havens.
The WHO spokesperson emphasized that stopping hostilities immediately and prioritizing saving lives is crucial, considering the challenging conditions for evacuating critically ill patients.