“TWe are now 1.7 million displaced people, so we have double or triple the population (in southern Gaza), using a third of the hospital beds in less than a third of the available hospitals”, said the executive director of the Program of WHO Health Emergencies, Michael Ryan, in a ‘briefing’ at the UN headquarters in New York, in which he participated via videoconference from Geneva.
“Even if we had a ceasefire tomorrow morning, we would still have a huge problem on our hands,” he added.
Ryan said health services in the Gaza Strip are no longer able to provide care for more complex medical cases — including the majority of cancer patients and kidney dialysis patients — and will likely be overwhelmed with about 5,500 births expected in the next month.
The Israeli military’s plans to advance further south, Ryan said, would worsen health conditions even further.
“The hospital situation — the situation of the primary health care system — in Gaza is catastrophic and is the worst that can be imagined in the north,” he said.
Ryan also said that one of the consequences of the collapsing health system is that it is “very difficult” to keep the real numbers of victims updated, noting that the vast majority of those killed are women and children.
“And there is still a large number of people missing, which could include up to 1,500 children,” he stressed.
In addition to the injuries, some of which were very serious, the WHO reported a large number of people crowded into shelters, a situation that creates epidemic risks.
The rains and the sudden drop in temperatures will also create a problem of potential pneumonia, especially among children, the WHO official warned.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported today that its clinic in Gaza City was hit by gunfire in “intense fighting” around the facility, which led to the demolition of a wall and part of the building to be engulfed in flames.
The organization, which “urgently called for an end to the fighting in the area”, indicated on its account on the X platform (formerly Twitter) that on Sunday morning there were “intense fighting” near the clinic, where an Israeli tank was also seen.
According to the organization, dozens of people inside the clinic are “in extreme danger”, while “more than 50 people, including MSF staff, are in nearby buildings and there is an injured person who needs medical attention”, at a time when that several NGO vehicles “were on fire”.
Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, met on Sunday with Israeli President Isaac Herzog and other senior government officials, including from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. abroad, and met with families of hostages held in Gaza.
The information was provided by the UN itself, which indicated that Rosemary DiCarlo held new meetings today with Israeli interlocutors and United Nations colleagues on the ground.
On Tuesday, the deputy secretary-general will travel to Ramallah, a city in the center of the West Bank, to meet with Palestinian interlocutors.
DiCarlo’s meetings with Israeli authorities take place at a time of strong tensions between the UN and Israel, with Tel Aviv rejecting the United Nations’ critical position in the face of its attacks in Gaza.
The Israeli Government even called for the resignation of António Guterres from the UN leadership after the secretary-general said that the Hamas attacks “did not happen out of nowhere”.
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