The UN on Sunday warned of an imminent health disaster in the Gaza Strip, in light of the damage sustained by many medical facilities during the Israeli campaign, the overcrowding in hospitals, and an anticipated shortage of medications.
“A health disaster of widespread proportions is rapidly unfolding in the Gaza Strip as a direct result of the ongoing conflict,” it said in a joint statement, co-signed by UNRWA and the World Health Organization.
The statement stressed that one-third of Gaza’s hospitals, 14 healthcare centers, and 29 ambulances have been damaged by Israeli fire since Operation Protective Edge began.
In addition, at least five medical professionals have been killed, and nearly half of the staff cannot reach the clinics and hospitals due to the ongoing violence, it said.
The UN also indicated that an explosion at the Gaza power plant and the closed crossings, which do not allow hospitals to replenish their supplies, compromised healthcare.
“Critical supplies of medicines and disposables are almost depleted and damage and destruction of power supplies has left hospitals dependent on unreliable back-up generators,” the statement said.
With some 460,000 Gazans displaced, many of them seeking shelter in UNRWA facilities in close-quarters, there are fears of other outbreaks, it said.
The UN added that the Najjar Hospital was evacuated after receiving calls the facility was about to be bombed. According to the IDF, Hamas has been launching rockets from civilian areas, including from hospitals and adjacent areas.