Gaza humanitarian crisis escalates amid ongoing Israeli offensive

Daily News Egypt
5 Min Read

Thousands of displaced Palestinians in southern Gaza are facing an increasingly dire situation as the Israeli army continues its assault on the enclave since the conflict erupted on October 7. 

The Gaza-based Health Ministry reports that medical teams in refugee camps have dealt with 325,000 cases of infectious diseases, raising concerns of an impending health catastrophe.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza has disclosed that the toll of the Israeli offensive on Gaza has reached 18,608 dead and 50,594 injured. In the past hours, an additional 196 have died and 499 were injured due to Israeli bombings, with many victims still trapped under the rubble.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a stark warning about the appalling health conditions in southern Gaza’s shelters. Thousands of displaced people face the imminent danger of death due to the spread of epidemics, infectious diseases, malnutrition, lack of drinking water, and poor personal hygiene. 

Currently, the WHO reports 120,000 cases of acute respiratory infections and 86,000 cases of diarrhoea, along with instances of jaundice, measles, and meningitis.

Marwan Al-Hams, head of the Health Emergency Committee in Gaza, highlights the increasing risk of epidemics coinciding with a severe collapse of the health system in the Strip. Al-Hams states, “We are witnessing symptoms of gastrointestinal issues, high fevers, outbreaks of skin diseases, respiratory infections including flu, colds, and the spread of measles among children in displacement areas every day.”

According to UN estimates, almost 1.9 million people, or nearly 85% of the total population, have been displaced in Gaza, with some experiencing multiple displacements. Tens of thousands reaching Rafah in the far south face extremely overcrowded conditions, leading to concerns about the spread of disease, especially during rainy days and floods, as reported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Suhayb Al-Hams, director of Kuwait Specialized Hospital in Rafah, reveals that the emergency rooms have received over 1,000 cases due to the spread of diseases, including respiratory issues, diarrhoea, viral hepatitis, various skin diseases, high fevers, and meningitis.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) states that it houses nearly 1.3 million displaced people in 154 facilities across Gaza, exceeding its planned capacity ninefold. Concerns are growing for vulnerable groups living in shelters, including persons with disabilities, pregnant and breastfeeding women, patients recovering from injuries or surgeries, and those with weak immune systems.

Meanwhile, the Gaza Municipality Union warns of waste pile-up in residential neighbourhoods due to challenges faced by municipal teams in waste collection, exacerbated by Israeli airstrikes and fuel shortages. Restricted access to main dumping sites poses a threat of health hazards and a significant environmental catastrophe.

Al-Qassam Brigades ambush Israeli forces, 7 Palestinians killed as Israel storms Jenin 

On the frontlines, Hamas military wing Al-Qassam Brigades, along with fighters from Al-Quds Brigades, successfully trapped an Israeli force of 15 soldiers in a tight ambush in the middle of the Gaza Strip. Additionally, Al-Qassam Brigades announced the targeting of seven Israeli tanks and two personnel carriers in the eastern and northern axes of the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, Israeli occupation forces continued for the second day to storm the city of Jenin and its camp, resulting in the death of eight Palestinians, including a child. Over 100 were arrested, with 70 subsequently released, as the occupation army continued home searches.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the invasion of Jenin, considering it “brutal” and an “escape from any upcoming political entitlements.” The ministry expressed serious concerns about the ongoing invasion, warning of its results, repercussions, and the collective punishments that may follow. The statement described the invasion as reflective of a retaliatory crisis mentality controlling decision-making in Tel Aviv.

The occupation forces expanded their aggression against Jenin, including most of the city’s neighbourhoods. On Tuesday night, they bombed a house in the eastern neighbourhood, causing significant destruction. The Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that the number of martyrs in the occupation forces’ storming of the Jenin camp had risen to seven.

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