The conflict in Gaza has expanded to hospitals, making it impossible to enter or exit the facilities.
In Geneva, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson, Christian Lindmeier, verified that Al-Kheir Hospital is one of the two hospitals currently under attack. Nasser Hospital is also facing a blockade, making it impossible for anyone to enter or leave.
I understand that the situation on the ground is likely very difficult, with people uncertain about what will happen in the coming minutes.
Desperate health needs
The spokesperson for the WHO stated that there are currently 14 operational hospitals in Gaza, with seven located in the northern region and seven in the southern region. These hospitals are facing significant health needs as a result of over three months of intense bombing by the Israeli Defense Forces, which was initiated by terrorist attacks led by Hamas in Israel. This has resulted in 1,200 deaths and around 250 people being held hostage.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), issued a warning on Monday evening regarding ongoing clashes near hospitals in Khan Younis. This has resulted in difficulties for injured individuals to receive necessary medical attention.
According to Mr. Lindmeier, the current state is completely unacceptable and should not be experienced by any health facility globally. He pointed out that around 20 hospitals in Gaza are currently not operational.
Delayed delivery of humanitarian convoys
Underscoring the dire humanitarian situation in the enclave, the WHO spokesperson described how desperate and hungry Gazans have become in their search for food. “One of the convoys had mainly fuel for hospitals on it, but the people were holding it up, as multiple times it was trying to move forward and trying to leave and trying to get onto the road because they were so desperate looking for food.”
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reiterated the caution that over 500,000 individuals in Gaza are still experiencing “catastrophic” levels of food insecurity.
Each day, the likelihood of famine rises due to ongoing conflict hindering the distribution of critical food aid, according to Abeer Etefa, a senior communications officer and spokesperson for WFP in the Middle East and North Africa region.
“This is the most densely populated area that resembles conditions of famine in the world. The speed at which we have reached this point is highly alarming.”
The spokesperson for the WFP also mentioned that children who were brought to Egypt for medical care from the other side of the border seemed to be suffering from malnutrition, being underweight, and being extremely thin.
She was concerned about the potential consequences of not having additional humanitarian breaks, a truce, and improved access to individuals.
She mentioned that these individuals are already experiencing starvation and will continue to face a challenging situation.
Dignitaries tour the city of Rafah.
On Tuesday, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric announced that two high-ranking UN aid representatives had traveled to the southern Gaza Strip, specifically the city of Rafah.
Sigrid Kaag and Jamie McGoldrick, both Humanitarian Coordinators, visited the southern city, which serves as the main location for civilians to receive vital supplies such as food and fuel.
In addition, they observed the United Nations’ humanitarian efforts and held meetings with members of different UN agencies and international non-governmental organizations working in the area, as well as local relief workers.
Delivering food assistance
According to Mr. Dujarric, the UN and its partners are actively working to address the critical threat of famine in Gaza, despite facing significant challenges.
“According to the speaker, approximately 1.2 million individuals received some type of food aid between January 15th and 21st.”
Over 50% of the distributions took place in Rafah, with 21% in Khan Younis. Approximately 25% reached Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, and 14% were delivered to the northern governorates.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, reported that civilians in the Khan Younis region experienced significant consequences due to heightened conflicts on Monday. Many lives were lost and numerous homes and structures were demolished.
According to Mr. Dujarric, the Palestine Red Crescent Society informed us that the Israeli forces had besieged their ambulance headquarters in Khan Younis, preventing them from offering assistance in the region. It was also reported that the Israeli forces targeted the Al-Amal hospital and ambulance headquarters.
The World Health Organization reports a continual increase in attacks on healthcare. In Gaza, over 300 attacks have been confirmed since the conflict began, with over 330 reported in the West Bank during the same timeframe.