The World Health Organization has stressed that it “cannot afford” to lose the remaining operational hospitals in southern Gaza, warning the enclave’s health care sector is collapsing at a “rapid pace.”
As Israeli calls for evacuations continue to push people to the south of the strip, WHO said it has strained the region’s already stretched facilities. The region’s hospitals are now “bursting with patients” and internally displaced people, WHO Emergency Medical Team Coordinator Sean Casey told a news briefing Tuesday.
Only 13 of 36 hospitals in Gaza are partially functioning, and bed occupancy is at 351%, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah.
Casey, who has carried out a number of WHO missions to hospitals in Gaza, described the “intensification of hostilities” around the European Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis as “really worrying.”
“We cannot lose the health facilities. They absolutely must be protected. This is the last line of secondary tertiary health care that Gaza has from the north to the south,” Casey stressed.
Richard Peeperkorn, a WHO representative in the occupied Palestinian Territory, also told the briefing: “We cannot afford to lose any hospital.”