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Palestinians wounded in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip arrive at a hospital in Khan Younis today. Alamy Stock Photo
israel-hamas war

Hospitals in Gaza on the brink of collapse as power set to run out in matter of hours

The regional head of the World Health Organisation has said that Gaza has only “24 hours of water, electricity and fuel left”.

HOSPITALS IN GAZA are on the brink of collapse as fuel reserves are set to run out in a matter of hours, as pressure mounts for assistance to arrive. 

Meanwhile, the regional head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Gaza has only “24 hours of water, electricity and fuel left”.

In an interview with AFP, WHO regional director for the eastern Mediterranean, Ahmed al-Mandhari, said that if aid is not allowed into the besieged territory, doctors will have to “prepare death certificates for their patients”. 

Gaza is now barrelling towards “a real catastrophe”, Mandhari said.

It is estimated that at least 2,750 people, mainly civilians, have been killed by the Israeli air assault which was unleashed after the Hamas attack on civilians in south Israel that killed more than 1,400 people.

In a statement shared last night, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said that fuel reserves at all hospitals across Gaza were expected to last for an additional 24 hours. 

rafah-palestinian-territories-16th-oct-2023-people-gather-in-the-courtyard-of-a-morgue-at-al-najjar-hospital-in-rafah-by-the-wrapped-bodies-of-palestinians-killed-in-an-israeli-airstrike-on-khan-y People gather in the courtyard of a morgue at Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah by the wrapped bodies of Palestinians killed in an Israeli airstrike on Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

“The shutdown of backup generators would place the lives of thousands of patients at risk,” the statement read. 

Gaza’s sole power plant shut down for lack of fuel after Israel completely sealed off the 25-mile long territory following the Hamas attack.

A total of 22 hospitals in nothern Gaza are treating more than 2,000 patients, including “some on ventilators, some who need regular dialysis, in addition to children, infants and women”.

Mandhari said Gaza’s hospitals have run out of clean water, while “fuel shortages threaten electricity supply”.

As medical resources dry up, he said doctors – who know they cannot save everyone – are having to make impossible choices.

“They have to triage the patients who are coming in. They have no other choice. There are too many people, so some are left to die slow deaths.”

palestinians-wounded-in-israeli-bombardment-of-the-gaza-strip-arrive-at-a-hospital-in-khan-younis-monday-oct-16-2023-ap-photofatima-shbair Palestinians wounded in Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip arrive at a hospital in Khan Younis. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

In Nasser Hospital, in the southern town of Khan Younis, intensive care rooms were packed with wounded patients, most of them children under the age of three. Hundreds of people with severe blast injuries have come to the hospital, where fuel is expected to run out by tonight.

There are 35 patients who require ventilators and another 60 on dialysis. Dr Mohammed Qandeel, a consultant at the critical care complex, said if fuel runs out, “it means the whole health system will be shut down”.

He added: “All these patients are in danger of death if the electricity is cut off.”

Shifa hospital in Gaza City, the territory’s largest, said it would bury 100 bodies in a mass grave as an emergency measure after its mortuary overflowed. Tens of thousands of people seeking safety have gathered in the hospital compound.

Gaza was already in a humanitarian crisis due to a growing shortage of water and medical supplies caused by the Israeli siege.

At a press conference yesterday, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini, said: “An unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding under our eyes.”

palestinians-wounded-in-israeli-bombardment-are-placed-in-a-tent-in-a-hospitals-yard-in-deir-el-balah-gaza-strip-monday-oct-16-2023-ap-photoadel-hana Palestinians wounded in Israeli bombardment are placed in a tent in a hospital's yard in Deir el-Balah, Gaza Strip. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

He said that Gaza “is being strangled and it seems that the world right now has lost its humanity”. 

“There is not one drop of water, not one grain of wheat, not a litre of fuel that has been allowed into the Gaza Strip for the last eight days,” he said.

“Thousands of people have been killed, including children and women. Gaza is now even running out of body bags.”

Mandhari said aid must be allowed to enter the Gaza Strip within one day before the situation becomes completely unmanageable.

In a statement yesterday, the general director of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Paris, Claire Magone, urged Israel to organise and maintain safe areas “where people can hope to be spared from the bombs” and organise an evacuation route.

“Hospitals are overwhelmed. There are no more painkillers now. Our staff tells us about the wounded screaming in pain, the injured, the sick who cannot get to the hospital and the terror of finding themselves bombed in a few hours,” the statement read.

“Other people tell us about the impossibility of going out for even one hour to get supplies. In the south of Gaza, where people were called to move to by the Israeli authorities, the situation is extremely difficult.

“People are crowded into makeshift precarious camps, where access to water and food is extremely problematic. Bombings also continue in southern Gaza. Our teams report that accessing water is difficult, and is getting worse by the hour. Gaza’s water shortage has now reached a critical threshold.”

Magone also urged Israeli authorities to restore access to essential services, including drinking water, adding that due to a lack of fuel, there is now no longer any drinking water being produced in Gaza.

With reporting from Press Association and © AFP 2023

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