• Khan Yunis

  • Friday, June 21, 2024 at 8:09 PM
    Last Update : Monday, June 24, 2024 at 5:23 AM

Fears of Epidemics and Infectious Diseases Spreading in Gaza During the Summer

((Arab World Press)) - Concerns over the proliferation of epidemics and infectious diseases in Gaza are mounting with the onset of summer, exacerbated by the spread of pools of sewage in the streets due to the destruction of infrastructure cause by the ongoing Israeli war on the Strip.

In Khan Yunis, south of the Strip, residents are doing their best to avoid the pools of sewage, but the effects follow them with the spread of mosquitoes, insects, and diseases.

High temperatures and low levels of hygiene due to the difficulty accessing clean water have worsened the health situation in the Gaza Strip, threatening the spread of infectious diseases such as hepatitis and cholera.

Waheed Qudih, Medical Director of al-Amal hospital in Khan Yunis, said, “It has been noted recently that the number of people infected with viral hepatitis continues to increase among all ages, especially from 10 to 20 years old. These cases are occurring due to the continued lack of hygiene, insufficient access to drinking water, and the current pollution in the summer.”

He added, “Regarding sanitation, the problem of the lack of infrastructure is appearing, resulting in sewage in the streets and open places with rising temperatures and insects. Gastroenteritis and intestinal infections have also increased. This threatens further spread of epidemics and infectious diseases in society.”

According to a report issued by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) this month, many displaced families in the Gaza Strip are forced to rely on seawater to meet their daily needs.
The UN agency explained that access to clean water is crucial for the health and survival of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Strip, amid real fears of a potential cholera outbreak in Gaza.

Qudih said, “Regarding infectious diseases, approximately 20 to 30 cases of hepatitis are recorded and diagnosed in Al Amal Hospital daily. Of course, this is in addition to the cases that are undiagnosed because the symptoms are not fully apparent. Furthermore, there are patients who are seen elsewhere and are treated at home without [official] diagnosis.”

He continued, “Of course, these numbers are not small when accounting for other institutions, patients, health centers, clinics, and primary care. Currently, in the summer, there is a risk of further spread of other infectious diseases.”

Qudih believes that the current health situation in Khan Younis has become conducive to the spread of diseases with the deterioration of living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza and the destruction of sewage networks in the Strip.

He said, “Of course, cholera and infectious diseases generally have a fertile environment in difficult health conditions. There is a lack of sanitation. There is a lack of sufficient quantities of water, not just for drinking but also for personal hygiene. There are inadequate sources of safe drinking water.”

“These are all factors that create a breeding ground for more infectious diseases,” Qudih warned.