WHO, Medics Say North Gaza Hospitals Barely Operational

Wed May 22 2024
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RAFAH, Palestinian Territories: The last two functioning hospitals in northern Gaza, Al-Awda and Kamal Adwan, are barely functional, doctors and the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday, as the war between Israel and Hamas is now in its eighth month.

Hospital officials said Israeli forces fired at the facilities and that snipers were deployed near one of them.

According to the hospital’s acting director, Dr. Mohammad Saleh, Tuesday was the third day of the siege of Al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza.

He said that Israeli forces were firing on hospital buildings and that snipers had taken up positions in nearby houses.

Dr. Saleh said that the southern wall of the hospital was destroyed and all the medical staff and patients are inside the wards.

According to him, moving around the hospital was “extremely difficult”.

However, the staff still had to transfer water from the second building to the first because the occupying Israeli forces hit the first building on Monday with a missile on the fifth floor and destroyed the water tanks.

WHO Medics Say North Gaza Hospitals Barely Operational 2 WHO Medics Say North Gaza Hospitals Barely Operational 1

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference in Geneva that 148 hospital staff and 22 patients and their companions are trapped inside the hospital.

The World Health Organization made regular visits to al-Awda in April to deliver medicine and fuel, but Ghebreyesus also reported that snipers had targeted the building and that artillery had hit the fifth floor.

Dounia Dekhili, an emergency coordinator for Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in Gaza, said “nothing is coming or going” from the hospital because of fears of sniper fire.

Dr Saleh did not report any casualties but said the episode was reminiscent of the latest Israeli military operation in the northern Gaza hospital area, which is next to the Jabalia refugee camp.

In December, Israeli forces besieged Al-Awda hospital for several days, killing two of its staff members and detaining others, MSF said at the time.

The Gaza Strip has been gripped by war since an unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel on October 7, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians.

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