A major hospital in central Gaza “must continue to function”, the head of the World Health Organization said on Sunday, after several aid organizations removed medical staff from the facility, citing increased Israeli military activity in the area.
In a statement, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that Al-Aqsa Hospital in the city of Deir al-Balah “is the most important hospital left in central Gaza” and demanded that the facility, its staff, patients and families be housed in . The facilities are protected by ongoing hostilities.
“Three months into this conflict, it is inexplicable that this most essential need – security of health care – is not ensured,” he said.
Emergency medical teams from Medical Aid (MAP), the aid group for Palestinians, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) announced their withdrawal from Al-Aqsa hospital on Sunday, after Israeli forces ordered Palestinians to move to “shelters” in central Gaza. Leaflets were dropped to place orders. Area. Doctors Without Borders said on Saturday it would withdraw its staff working in Al-Aqsa due to artillery fire in the area.
Tedros said in his statement that no hospitals in northern Gaza were fully operational and only a “handful” of health facilities in other parts of the territory were operational.
He said representatives from WHO and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs visited Al-Aqsa hospital on Sunday and saw a large number of injured people being taken for urgent treatment.
“WHO staff witnessed harrowing scenes of people of all ages being treated on blood-stained floors and in chaotic corridors. An unidentified child was lying dead on the bed, partially covered with a sheet. Other injured people were thrown to the ground and tended to by health workers and family members, the statement said.
Tedros said evacuation orders and a lack of security had forced most medical staff to leave. “Tonight’s reports indicate that only 5 doctors are left. The hospital management said that the health workers do not have food.
CNN cannot independently verify the details of his statement. The Israel Defense Forces have stated that they do not generally attack medical facilities, but have accused Hamas of using them as cover for military activities and reserve the right to attack them if so. Are.
Tedros said WHO was planning to facilitate the deployment of an emergency medical team to support Al-Aqsa’s overstretched doctors and nurses, but that this would only be possible in a secure environment.