Health, sanitation, water and food services near breaking point as fighting intensifies. Physicians and other men pray before the burial of people killed in Israeli bombardments outside the Nasser Medical Complex morgue in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. [Mahmud Hams/AFP]
Published On 15 Nov 202315 Nov 2023
The continuous Israeli bombardment and ground invasion in northern Gaza has caused another 200,000 people to flee south in the past 10 days, according to the United Nations’ humanitarian office (OCHA).
The agency said on Tuesday only one hospital in the north is capable of treating patients. Some of the fighting is around hospitals, where patients, newborns and medics are stranded with no electricity and dwindling supplies.
Israel has ordered civilians to evacuate from Gaza City and surrounding areas in the north, but the southern part of the besieged territory is not much safer. Israel carries out frequent air raids throughout Gaza, hitting what it says are Hamas targets but often killing women and children.
On Tuesday, dozens of people were killed and wounded in the southern city of Khan Younis.
More than two-thirds of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have fled their homes since the war began, and UN-run shelters in the south are already severely overcrowded.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) says that 80 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip was already food insecure prior to the start of the war on October 7. Nearly half of the population of 2.3 million people relied on food assistance from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). [Mohammed Abed/AFP]
https://8b54e9758e7e24d022bef0b8d1e57208.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html The UNRWA, which has been struggling to provide basic services to people sheltering in schools and other facilities in the south, said it may run out of fuel by Wednesday, forcing it to halt most aid operations. [Said Khatib/AFP] The agency said it could no longer import limited supplies of food and medicine through Egypt’s Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only link to the outside world. [Said Khatib/AFP] Meanwhile, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that ‘due to lack of fuel, public sewage pumping stations, 60 water wells in the south, the two main desalination plants in Rafah and the Middle Area, the two main sewage pumps in the south, and the Rafah wastewater treatment plant have all ceased operations’. [Said Khatib/AFP] ‘Coupled with the shutdown of municipal sanitation work, this is posing a serious threat to public health, increasing the risk of water contamination and the outbreak of diseases,’ OCHA said. [Said Khatib/AFP] About 400 tonnes of rubbish per day accumulates in overcrowded camps and shelters for the displaced, according to the UNRWA. [Mohammed Abed/AFP]
https://8b54e9758e7e24d022bef0b8d1e57208.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html On November 4, Israel destroyed a water reservoir in northern Gaza as well as a public water tank that supplied several neighbourhoods in the south. Many people are drinking polluted, salty water and queue for hours in the hope of obtaining potable water. [Said Khatib/AFP] A young Palestinian manufactures a mixture of crushed olive pits to be used as fire starter amid fuel shortages in Rafah. The UN has repeatedly appealed for fuel to be allowed into Gaza, saying beyond aid deliveries, it is needed to power hospitals, clean water pumps and for sewage disposal. [Said Khatib/AFP] With facilities exceeding capacity, many people are now living on the streets. [Said Khatib/AFP] The lack of fuel also means sewage pumping stations and the Rafah wastewater treatment plant have ceased operations. [Mohammed Abed/AFP] Overcrowded UNRWA shelters are reporting cases of acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea and chickenpox. The WHO has reported at least 22,500 cases of acute respiratory infections and 12,000 cases of diarrhoea, which can be deadly in children suffering from dehydration and lack of food. [Haitham Imad/ EPA-EFE] OCHA said Israeli attacks destroyed more than 41,000 housing units and damaged about 222,000 housing units. About half of Gaza’s housing units have been damaged or destroyed. [Hatem Ali/AP Photo] The World Health Organization says 22 of 36 hospitals in Gaza are nonfunctional ‘due to lack of fuel, damage, attacks and insecurity’. Calling for an immediate ceasefire, the UN’s health agency warned that the 14 hospitals remaining open ‘have barely enough supplies to sustain critical and lifesaving surgeries and provide inpatient care, including intensive care’. [Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP]