The largest hospital in Gaza has ceased to function while fatalities among patients have been rising amid relentless Israeli bombings in the coastal strip, said the World Health Organisation on Sunday as its chief joined the call for an immediate ceasefire.
According to a Reuters report, Israeli forces have blockaded hospitals in the northern Gaza, including the al-Shifa complex making it difficult for the hospital staff to barely take care of those inside with three newborns dead at al-Shifa while more were at a risk due to power outages amid intense fighting nearby, according to medical staff.
Israel has been claiming that the Palestinian militant group, Hamas is having its command centres near and under these hospitals while Hamas has denied such claims.
The health professionals at al-Shifa who managed to speak to the WHO described the situation as “dire and perilous”with constant gunfire and bombing exacerbating the already critical circumstances, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, according to the Reuters report.
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“Tragically, the number of patient fatalities has increased significantly,” he said in a post on X, adding that Shifa was “not functioning as a hospital anymore” as he joined the global call for an immediate ceasefire.
“The world cannot stand silent while hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair,” he said.
On Sunday, the Israeli military said it was ready to evacuate newborn babies and had placed 300 litres of fuel at al-Shifa’s entrance on Saturday night, but that both gestures had been blocked by Hamas, as per the report.
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Hamas denied Israel’s claim that it refused the fuel and said the hospital was under the authority of Gaza’s Health Ministry, adding that the amount of fuel Israel said it offered was “not enough to operate the (hospital’s) generators for more than half an hour.”
The second largest hospital in the besieged enclave, al-Quds, was also out of service, said the Palestinian Red Crescent, as per the report, adding that the staff has been struggling to care for those already there with little medicine, food and water.
“Al Quds hospital has been cut off from the world in the last six to seven days. No way in, no way out,” said Tommaso Della Longa, spokesperson for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.