May 29, 2024
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Gaza Doctors Fear Deadly Disease Outbreak

Gaza’s Terrified Doctors Face Looming Disease Outbreak – Aid Efforts Intensify

In Gaza, the lull in hostilities persisted into its fifth day on Tuesday, but UN humanitarian workers cautioned that an urgent surge in aid deliveries was imperative. This escalation aimed to safeguard the injured and prevent a potentially catastrophic outbreak of a lethal disease that has left medical practitioners deeply apprehensive.

Immediate priorities encompassed the transportation of fuel to the northern region of the war-ravaged enclave. This fuel was indispensable for powering hospitals, ensuring access to clean water, and sustaining other critical civilian infrastructure.

The aftermath of Israeli airstrikes, retaliating against Hamas’s actions on October 7 in southern Israel, has been profoundly devastating. Casualties soared, with approximately 1,200 individuals killed and nearly 240 held captive. Gazan health authorities reported a distressing toll, indicating over 15,000 fatalities, predominantly among women and children, due to relentless attacks.

The threats, both from aerial bombings and ground realities, were dire. UNICEF spokesperson James Elder relayed a doctor’s apprehensions from Al-Shifa hospital in the north, emphasizing the looming dangers posed by diseases like diarrhoea and respiratory infections. These posed severe risks, especially to children already debilitated due to weakened immune systems and inadequate nourishment.

As negotiations persisted for further ceasefire extensions in exchange for hostage releases, UNICEF expressed dismay at witnessing numerous youths battling life-threatening injuries. The scenes were harrowing, with war-stricken children lying in makeshift arrangements in various spaces, leaving doctors with heart-wrenching decisions on who to prioritize for care.

Tragic delays were also evident. Mr. Elder highlighted the plight of a boy, amputated due to the conflict, facing a torturous journey southwards, encountering prolonged delays at checkpoints. His injuries were grievous, with shrapnel wounds, potential blindness, and severe burns covering half his body.

The UN World Health Organization echoed profound concerns about the immense healthcare needs across Gaza. The dire situation stemmed from starvation, water scarcity, and overcrowding, leaving the sick and afflicted without access to essential aid.

OCHA, the UN aid coordination office, detailed accelerated relief supply deliveries south of Wadi Gaza, where a significant portion of the estimated 1.7 million internally displaced sought refuge. Vital service providers, including hospitals and sanitation facilities, continued to receive crucial fuel to sustain their operations.

The UN World Food Programme, despite delivering vital sustenance to over 120,000 individuals during the initial ceasefire, stressed the inadequacy of supplies. The dire circumstances risked famine and starvation, necessitating a substantial and secure influx of food to alleviate the alarming hunger prevalent in UN shelters and communities.

Corinne Fleischer, WFP’s Director for the Middle East, North Africa, and Eastern Europe Region, emphasized the urgency, stating that the current aid provision was insufficient to address the widespread hunger and desperation. The six-day ceasefire window, while helpful, fell short of meeting the sustained and daily needs of Gaza’s population.

Samer Abdeljaber, WFP Palestine Representative and Country Director, reiterated the urgency for unimpeded humanitarian access to avert further suffering. The pause in hostilities provided a fleeting moment for relief, a potential precursor to a more enduring calm, but the dire humanitarian situation demanded sustained and secure aid access to alleviate the ongoing crisis.

Read more : UN Halts Gaza Aid Deliveries Amid Communication Blackout

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