• Friday, October 20, 2023 at 5:20 AM
    Last Update : Monday, October 23, 2023 at 9:14 PM

Piling of Bodies in Gaza Hospitals is a "Catastrophe" Threatening Public Health Inside Gaza and Beyond, WHO Tells AWP – Interview

(AWP) - The Regional Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the Eastern Mediterranean warned that the accumulation of dead bodies surpasses the capacity of morgues across the Gaza Strips’s hospitals and described it as an environmental catastrophe that threatens public health in Gaza and beyond.

Dr Ahmed al-Mandhari’s comments came as the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip continued into the second week.

In an interview with AWP on Wednesday, al-Mandhari expressed concern about the spread of waterborne diseases such as cholera due to people resorting to contaminated water because of the lack of clean drinking water.

He said, “There is also a shortage of food, and a suspension of the expanded vaccination and immunization program for children, which poses a risk of infectious diseases for children such as measles and polio.”

According to al-Mandhari, the closure of the Rafah border crossing through which humanitarian aid can reach Palestinians in Gaza is a “double humanitarian catastrophe.”

He explained, “Every second or hour that passes without opening the crossing, we lose innocent lives, whether they are hospital patients or citizens in various shelters, due to the lack of drinking water, for example."

The Egyptian Presidency spokesman said in a statement yesterday that President Abdelfattah al-Sisi and his U.S. counterpart, President Joe Biden, held a phone call where they agreed on bringing humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing in a sustainable manner, with the two countries’ relevant authorities coordinating with international humanitarian organisations under the supervision of the United Nations to secure the arrival of aid to the Palestinians.

Al-Mandhari said that hospitals in Gaza are full of bodies and wounded people, exceeding their capacity, as four out of the 22 hospitals in northern Gaza are not functioning as a result of being directly targeted by Israeli bombing.

He warned of a shortage of medical supplies, as what is available in Gaza has begun to run out. He also warns of a shortage of drinking water in hospitals and a lack of fuel, which threatens power outages.