The World Health Organization has warned that the health crisis in the Gaza Strip could result in more fatalities from disease than from the ongoing conflict. The organization’s spokesperson, Margaret Harris, expressed concern over the rise in infectious diseases, particularly among children, and the potential collapse of the region’s health system.
According to United Nations-verified data, over 15,000 people have been killed in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, with children making up around 40% of the casualties. The militant group Hamas, which governs Gaza, has also caused significant loss of life and destruction.
Harris highlighted the urgent need for health system restoration, warning that without it, disease could claim more lives than the conflict itself. She noted a significant increase in cases of diarrhea among children, with instances for those aged five and older skyrocketing to over 100 times the normal rate by early November.
Despite a temporary ceasefire allowing for the delivery of aid, including food, water, and medicine, the needs of the population far exceed the resources available. James Elder, a spokesperson for the U.N. Children’s Agency in Gaza, reported that hospitals are overwhelmed with children suffering from burns, shrapnel wounds, and gastroenteritis due to contaminated water.
Harris also expressed concern over the closure of 26 out of 36 hospitals in Gaza, either due to bombings or fuel shortages, and the detention of medical staff by Israeli forces.
Read more at Reuters.