Hospitals in the Gaza Strip | WHO official describes patients ‘awaiting death’

(United Nations) A World Health Organization (WHO) emergency aid coordinator on Wednesday described patients “waiting for death” in Gaza hospitals rendered inoperable by war, in a statement to headquarters of the UN in New York.

After spending five weeks in the Palestinian territory, Sean Casey, a WHO emergency coordinator, reported seeing daily hospital patients “with severe burns or open fractures waiting for hours or days” to receive treatment.

“Often they asked me for food or water, this illustrates the level of desperation,” he added.

Sean Casey said he was able to visit only six of Gaza’s 16 operating hospitals, out of the 36 that operated before the war.

“What I have seen personally is a rapid deterioration of the health system,” he testified, also noting “the decline in the level of access for humanitarian aid, particularly in areas with northern part of the (Gaza) Strip.”

“We tried every day for seven days to deliver fuel and supplies to the north of Gaza City,” the official described. “Every day we were denied these requests.”

Hospitals in Gaza are receiving a huge flow of patients while only being able to count on minimal staff, with caregivers having been displaced after fleeing their homes, like the majority of the population.

Mr. Casey said he saw patients in the northern Gaza Strip “waiting to die in a hospital without fuel, electricity or water.”

The war, which devastated the Palestinian territory and displaced more than 80% of the population, was triggered by an unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7 in southern Israel which left 1,140 dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official figures.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to annihilate Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007. According to Hamas’ health ministry, 24,448 people, the vast majority women, children and adolescents, were killed in the attacks. Israeli military operations in the Palestinian territory, where the UN has cited a “risk of famine” and “deadly epidemics”.

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