Sunday, June 23, 2024

Gaza Hospitals “on brink of collapse”: UN

Hospitals in Gaza are "on the brink of collapse", the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned. The office stressed that the number of patients treated or waiting to be treated is at 150% of the hospitals' capacity, and people are lying on the floors and corridors.

It said 60% of primary healthcare facilities have shut down in Gaza, while hospitals are struggling to operate amid shortages of power, medicine, equipment and specialized personnel.

“Only eight (out of 22) of UNRWA health centers in Middle, Khan Younis and Rafah governorates are providing primary health care services to critical outpatients and patients in need of treatment for non-communicable diseases,” the statement added.

The water situation in Gaza also remains dire. The last functioning desalination plant shut down last Sunday due to lack of fuel, as did the last functioning wastewater treatment plant, the UN reported.

“Water production from municipal groundwater sources is at less than 5% of the pre-hostilities level. The three seawater desalination plants, which, prior to the hostilities produced seven per cent of Gaza’s water supply, are currently not operational. Water trucking operations came to a halt in most areas due to the lack of fuel, insecurity and roads blocked by debris,” OCHA said.

“Bottled water is largely unavailable, and its price has made it unaffordable for most families. Private vendors, who operate small water desalination and purification plants, which are mostly run by solar energy, became the main suppliers of clean drinking water,” the OCHA statement added.

Sanitation is deteriorating. All five wastewater treatments in Gaza have been shut down due to a lack of power, so a lot of sewage is being dumped in the sea, and “most of the 65 sewage pumping stations are not operational,” according to OCHA. Trash is also piling up.

Food security is unstable. Three out of the five World Food Programme (WFP) bakeries in Gaza closed on Friday due to fuel shortages and lack of ingredients, OCHA announced. Wheat flour across Gaza could run out in “about five days,” and only one of the five mills in Gaza is currently running.

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