New Delhi: The United Nations cautioned on Tuesday that amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, fuel shortages and worsening sanitation in the Gaza Strip are raising fears of a health crisis, forming a perfect storm that raises concerns of tragedy, reported news agency AFP.
UNICEF stated that there was a serious threat of a mass disease outbreak in the besieged Palestinian territory.
Speaking at a press briefing in Geneva, UNICEF spokesman James Elder said, “Without enough fuel, we will see the collapse of sanitation services. So we have then, on top of the mortars and the bombs, a perfect storm for the spread of disease.”
“It’s a perfect storm for tragedy,” Elder said, reported AFP.
“We have a desperate lack of water, faecal matter strewn across densely populated settlements, an unacceptable lack of latrines, and severe, severe restraints on hand-washing, personal hygiene and cleaning.”
Last month on October 7, Hamas gunmen stormed across the border from Gaza into Israel, killing around 1,200 people, and taking around 240 people hostage, according to Israeli officials.
In retaliation, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign and ground offensive in Gaza, killing more than 13,300 Palestinians, thousands of them children, according to the territory’s Hamas-run health ministry.
Supplies of water, electricity, fuel, and food were cut off to the impoverished and densely populated territory in the aftermath of the Hamas attacks.
According to AFP, UNICEF is particularly concerned about the risk of a cholera outbreak in the Gaza Strip, fearing an exponential rise in child deaths if an outbreak was to strike.
Cholera, which has not so far been detected in Gaza, is contracted from a bacterium that is generally transmitted through contaminated food or water.
It causes diarrhea and vomiting and can be especially dangerous for young children.