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The World Health Organization chief

Hospitals in Gaza are under shelling as part of Israel's response to Hamas attacks. (File)

Geneva:

The World Health Organization chief said on Sunday that improving the “catastrophic” health situation in the Gaza Strip is unlikely despite the WHO's executive board unanimously passing a WHO emergency motion to ensure greater medical access. Said it was impossible.

Palestinian officials also described the dire health situation in the Gaza Strip. Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip have left most residents homeless, with little electricity, food or clean water, and the medical system facing collapse.

The emergency action, proposed by Afghanistan, Qatar, Yemen and Morocco, calls for the passage of health workers and supplies to Gaza, forces the WHO to document violence against health workers and patients, and secures funding to rebuild hospitals. I'm asking you to do something.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We must be frank: the current circumstances make these tasks nearly impossible.”

Tedros told the 34-member council in Geneva that Gaza's medical system capacity is reduced to one-third of its pre-conflict level, despite rapidly increasing medical needs and rising disease risks. He said he is doing so.

“Half of Gaza is now starving,” said Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian politician who heads the Palestinian Federation of Medical and Relief Committees, which has 25 teams working in Gaza.

He said 350,000 people were suffering from infectious diseases, 115,000 of whom had severe respiratory infections and lacked warm clothing, blankets and rain protection.

He said with little clean water and not enough fuel used to boil it, many people were suffering from stomach upsets and were at risk of outbreaks of red intestine, typhoid and cholera. Ta.

“To make matters worse, most of the hospitals are not functioning, leaving 46,000 injured people without proper treatment,” he said.

shelling

As part of Israel's response to the deadly Hamas attack on October 7, hospitals in Gaza came under shelling, and some were surrounded or raided. Hospitals that remain open are overwhelmed by the number of dead and injured people arriving, with some procedures being performed without anesthesia.

According to a WHO database, there have been 449 attacks on health facilities in the Palestinian territories since October 7, but no one has been identified as responsible.

Mr. Tedros said it would be difficult to comply with the council's request given the local security situation and deeply regretted that the UN Security Council was unable to agree to a ceasefire due to the US veto. Ta.

“Resupplying medical facilities has become extremely difficult and is seriously compromised by the local security situation and insufficient supplies from outside Gaza,” he said.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila lamented the severe shortage of medicines. “The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated,” she told a WHO conference via video link.

The United States, a member of the WHO executive board, indicated during the meeting that it would not oppose the text of the motion, which was adopted without a vote late Sunday.

The motion unfairly focuses on Israel and does not mention that Hamas is allegedly using civilians as human shields by setting up command centers and weapons inside hospitals. was criticized by

“If this meeting serves any purpose, it will only facilitate Hamas's actions,” Israeli Ambassador Meirav Eilon Chahar told the meeting. Israel is not a member of the WHO Executive Board.

Emergency meetings of the WHO are rare and have been held during health crises, such as the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and the 2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It was chaired by Qatar, which mediated the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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