Last Updated: December 17, 2023, 14:54 IST
A humanitarian assessment team led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) visits Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza, in this handout image released November 18, 2023. (Reuters)
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The WHO said it would reinforce Al-Shifa “in the coming weeks” in order for it to resume basic services
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Sunday said the emergency department at the Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, devastated by Israeli bombardments, is “a blood bath” and is “in need of resuscitation”.
In a statement, the WHO said that “tens of thousands of displaced people are using the hospital building and grounds for shelter”, and that there is “a severe shortage” of drinking water and food.
WHO delivers health supplies to Al-Shifa Hospital, appeals for continued access to address urgent needs in north #GazaWHO staff participated in a joint UN mission to Al-Shifa Hospital in north Gaza on 16 December to deliver health supplies and assess the situation in the… pic.twitter.com/gIa3tG97mC
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) December 16, 2023
‘New patients arriving every minute’
A team from the WHO and other UN agencies was able to deliver medical supplies Saturday to the hospital, the largest in the Palestinian territory. “The team described the emergency department as a ‘bloodbath’, with hundreds of injured patients inside, and new patients arriving every minute,” the organisation said.
The hospital is functioning at a minimal scale with very few staff and the WHO said “critical patients are being transferred to Al-Ahli Arab Hospital for surgeries”. Operating theatres are not working due to a lack of oxygen and supplies, and according to the WHO team, it is a “hospital in need of resuscitation”. Only 30 patients can receive dialysis daily.
Gaza Strip Hit Hard
As per agency reports, all health infrastructure in the Gaza Strip has been hard hit by bombardments and ground operations carried out by the Israeli army since the October 7 attack by Hamas. The attack saw about 1,140 people killed and 240 hostages taken. According to Hamas, Israel’s retaliatory offensive in Gaza has killed 18,800 people. The WHO said it would reinforce Al-Shifa “in the coming weeks” for it to resume basic services.
“Up to 20 operating theatres in the hospital, as well as post-operative care services, can be activated if provided with regular supplies of fuel, oxygen, medicines, food, and water,” the WHO said. As things stand, Al-Ahli Arab is the only hospital “partially functioning” in the entire north of the Gaza Strip, while three hospitals — Al-Shifa, Al Awda and Al Sahaba Medical Complex — are functioning at a minimum.
(With AFP inputs)