Gaza’s largest hospital stops functioning; ‘Countries cannot remain mute spectators,’ says WHO

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  • Thousands of Gazans have sought shelter around the Al-Shifa hospital as the battle continued in surrounding areas.  
  • The Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City is out of service due to a lack of generator fuel, said the Palestinian Red Crescent 
  • Around 3,000 patients and staff are trapped at the hospital complex without adequate water and food, according to the UN agencies. 
  • Israeli forces reached the gates of Gaza City’s main hospital, 
  • The primary target in their battle to seize control of the northern half of the Gaza Strip, where medics said patients including newborn babies were dying for lack of fuel. 
  • There was also fresh concern that the war could spread beyond Gaza, with an upsurge of clashes on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon 

Gaza’s largest hospital has stopped functioning, the World Health Organization said on Monday as hundreds of patients remain trapped at this latest focal point of the Israel-Hamas ground battle in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.

In Gaza, 20 out of 36 hospitals are no longer functioning, according to the UN’s humanitarian agency.

“The WHO has managed to get in touch with health professionals at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, the hospital is not functioning as a hospital anymore,” said WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “The world cannot stand silent while hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair.”

The situation remains grim in north Gaza where hospitals are blockaded by Israeli forces and are not able to provide care to those inside. At least two newborns died at the hospital while more are at risk due to frequent power outages, Reuters reported citing medical staff.

Thousands of Gazans have sought shelter around the Al-Shifa hospital as the battle continued in surrounding areas. The Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City is out of service due to a lack of generator fuel, said the Palestinian Red Crescent. Israel has on several instances alleged that hospitals in Gaza are being used by Hamas for their operations.

The Israel-Hamas war, the deadliest this region has ever seen, began on October 7 as Hamas operatives swarmed from Gaza, killing and kidnapping Israelis and foreigners from border towns. At least 1,200 were killed in the multiple waves of attacks on Israel. Besides, 44 soldiers were killed during the war in Gaza, said the Israeli army on Monday.

In response to the attack, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government launched airstrikes on Gaza and expanded ground operations inside the strip, vowing to destroy Hamas and its military capabilities. At least 11,180 people including 4,609 children were killed in the counterattack, according to the Hamas government’s media office.

Around 3,000 patients and staff are trapped at the hospital complex without adequate water and food, according to the UN agencies. Besides two incubated babies, a man died after his ventilator shut down due to a power cut. “It’s been three days without electricity, without water, and with very poor internet which has severely impacted our ability to provide essential care,” said the WHO chief.

Al-Shifa director Mohammad Abu Salmiya also rejected Israel’s claims that their soldiers had delivered 300 liters of fuel to the hospital. The 300 liters would power generators for “no more than a quarter of an hour” anyway, he said.

 

(With inputs from agencies)

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