World Health Organization Expresses Concerns for Patients Still in Gaza’s Nasser Hospital

The World Health Organization expresses grave concern for the safety of 130 patients at Gaza’s Nasser hospital, which it has deemed non-functional following an Israeli raid.

Leading two missions, the UN agency has facilitated the transfer of 32 critically ill Palestinians from the complex in Khan Younis. It reports severe deficiencies such as lack of electricity, running water, and the presence of medical waste and garbage, posing significant health risks.

Israel asserts that its troops are providing aid to ensure the hospital’s operations continue while taking action against Hamas.

The Israeli military reports the detention of hundreds of individuals labeled as “terrorists” and the discovery of weapons and medicines intended for Israeli hostages allegedly held by Hamas since their entry into the facility last Thursday. Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by Israel, the UK, and other nations, refutes accusations of using hospitals for cover, asserting that these claims are a pretext to dismantle Gaza’s healthcare system.

In the ongoing conflict, only 11 out of the Palestinian territory’s 36 hospitals remain partially functional after four months, with three operating at minimal capacity. Simultaneously, the World Food Programme announces a pause in food deliveries to northern Gaza due to “complete chaos and violence resulting from the collapse of civil order.” The organization warns that this decision, prompted by truck looting and driver assault, will further deteriorate the situation, increasing the risk of hunger-related deaths.

The Israeli military initiated an extensive air and ground campaign in Gaza following an attack by Hamas gunmen that resulted in approximately 1,200 casualties in southern Israel on October 7. Additionally, 253 individuals were taken hostage.

ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES Israel Defense Forces handout photo showing Israeli soldiers operating in Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza (18 February 2024)

According to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry, the total death toll in the territory has reached 29,195 since the beginning of the conflict, with at least 103 reported deaths in the past 24 hours.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that its personnel undertook two precarious missions on Sunday and Monday. The objective was to transfer 23 critically ill patients, including two children, from the Nasser Medical Complex. Additionally, the WHO provided essential supplies of medicines and food.

The patients were transported using four Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to various medical facilities, including the European hospital in Khan Younis, al-Aqsa hospital in the central town of Deir al-Balah, and three field hospitals in the southern city of Rafah.

“Among the individuals relocated during these operations were three individuals grappling with paralysis, with two of them undergoing tracheostomy procedures. Additionally, several patients with external fixators for severe orthopedic injuries were among those transported. Notably, two of the paralyzed patients necessitated continuous manual ventilation throughout the journey due to the absence of portable ventilators,” the statement conveyed.

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