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Israeli soldiers outside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City in November Alamy
Gaza

WHO brings fuel to Al-Shifa, as remaining hospitals in Gaza show 'desperation'

After delays at the checkpoint, the 19,000 liters of fuel were delivered to the hospital, where witnesses say desperation was apparent.

LAST UPDATE | 24 Jan

THE WORLD HEALTH Organisation (WHO) has said it completed another “high-risk operation”, re-supplying fuel to Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, where Israeli bombardments have raged on.

After delays at the checkpoint, the 19,000 liters of fuel were delivered to the hospital, where witnesses say desperation was apparent. 

The mission was carried out along with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security, and Médecins Sans Frontières.

The last mission of this kind took place on 12 January.

“Hundreds of thousands of people remain cut off from aid,” WHO said.

“The roads leading to the hospital were severely damaged, and the desperation in northern Gaza was apparent, as thousands of civilians surrounded the UN vehicles and fuel truck in the hopes of finding food and water, also delaying the mission.”

Since the last visit ten days ago, WHO says conditions in the hospital have improved.

“A significant decrease in the number of displaced people, from 40,000 to 10 000 was observed,” it said.

“There are 120 health and care workers, and 300 patients. The hospital conducts 5-10 surgeries daily, mainly trauma cases that require immediate care.

“Essential services such as basic laboratory and radiological facilities remain operational, along with emergency care, a surgical unit with three operation theaters, post-operative care, and a dialysis unit.”

There are plans to reopen a 9-bed ICU over the coming days.

However, there are no maternity or pediatric services, and shortages of specialised doctors, medicines, and medical supplies such as orthopedic equipment. 

Conflict

Israel kept up its heavy assault on the “encircled” Gazan city of Khan Yunis following an outpouring of grief over the army’s deadliest single day since ground operations in the territory began.

As the fighting raged, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA reported that Israeli forces on Tuesday had issued fresh evacuation orders for a section of Khan Yunis housing an estimated half a million residents and displaced people.

The orders came as the World Food Programme warned that Gazans were facing “catastrophic food insecurity”, and as the UN chief took Israel to task over its rejection of a two-state solution – seen by ally the United States as the only path to a durable peace.

Twenty-four Israeli troops were killed on Monday, 21 of them reservists slain “when a squad of terrorists surprised the force” with rocket-propelled grenade fire, military spokesman Daniel Hagari said Tuesday.

“The price of the war is heavy and painful,” he added.

Mourners filed into funerals for the reservists on Tuesday, including some with no connection to the deceased.

Israela Oron, of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, said the mounting soldier deaths – now at 221 – would prompt the public to “demand clear answers about the purpose and the goal of this operation in Gaza”.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said an investigation had been launched into the “disaster”.

With reporting by © AFP 2024

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