Friday, June 21, 2024

The World Health Organization has described Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza as a “death zone” and called for the entire building to be evacuated.


The World Health Organization confirmed on Sunday that it had led an assessment mission to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, saying it had become a “death zone” and urging its complete evacuation. In its report, the organization pointed out that “the effects of the blast and firing were evident. The team found a mass grave at the entrance of the hospital and more than 80 people were said to be buried there.”

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“A zone of death,” with these words the World Health Organization described the situation at Al-Shifa Hospital on Sunday, leading an assessment mission to the largest medical complex. Gaza Saturday and its full evacuation call.

In a statement it said it was working with its partners to “develop emergency plans for the immediate evacuation of the remaining patients, staff and their families”, adding that 291 patients and 25 healthcare workers were still in the hospital.

The organization said it led a joint United Nations team that included public health experts, logistics officials and security personnel on a short, “high-risk” mission to the hospital on Saturday.

He pointed out that the assessment team went to Al-Shifa after the Israeli army earlier ordered the evacuation of some 2,500 displaced people sheltering in the hospital.

“They, along with several patients and hospital staff, had already evacuated the facility by the time the team arrived,” it said in its statement.

Rows of sick and wounded, some of them with limbs amputated, were seen on Saturday from Al-Shifa Hospital towards the waterfront, without ambulances, with displaced people, doctors and nurses, while explosions were heard near the compound.

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Due to the security situation, the UN The evaluation team was able to spend only one hour inside the hospital.

The World Health Organization said the group described the hospital as a “death zone” and described the situation as “desperate”.

“Mass Grave”

In his report, he said, “The effects of the blast and gunfire were evident. The team found a mass grave at the entrance of the hospital and was told that more than 80 people were buried there.”

The organization pointed out that in six weeks, the biggest and most advanced hospitals in Gaza stopped working due to a lack of clean water, fuel, medicine, food and other basic aid.

Also, “the corridors and grounds of the hospital were littered with medical and solid waste, which increased the risk of infection.”

Among the remaining patients at the hospital, he said, were 32 children, “whose condition is very critical.”

There were two in intensive care without ventilation, 22 kidney patients with severely compromised access to care and others in shock.

The World Health Organization has confirmed that a large number of patients have died due to lack of medical services in the last two to three days.

The United Nations said the mission had received a request to evacuate health workers and patients to other facilities in view of the situation at the hospital.

‘Intolerable Situation’

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on the X site (formerly Twitter): “We are working with partners to develop an emergency evacuation plan and request the full facilitation of this plan.”

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“We continue to call for the health (department) and the safety of the public,” he added, lamenting that “the current situation is intolerable and unjustified,” and called for a “ceasefire now.”

The organization stressed that additional missions would be dispatched “in the next 24 to 72 hours to (receive) assurances of safe passage” to help transport patients to the Nasser Medical Complex and the Gaza European Hospital in southern Gaza. Companies are “already operating beyond their capacity.”

Al-Shifa hospital has become the center of ground operations for days and was attacked by the Israeli military on Wednesday, which Hamas accuses of using it as a cover for military and leadership facilities, which the movement denies.

France 24/AFP

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
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