Israeli Invasion of Rafah Could Lead to a Bloodbath: WHO

World Health Organization (photo: TVonenews)

Gaza, MINA – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Frifay it was deeply concerned that a full-scale Israeli military invasion of Rafah could lead to a bloodbath, especially since more than 1.2 million people are currently sheltering in the area, many unable to move anywhere else.

“A new wave of displacement would exacerbate overcrowding, further limiting access to food, water, health and sanitation services, leading to increased disease outbreaks, worsening levels of hunger, and additional loss of lives,” the UN body said in a press statement as quoted by Wafa.

Only 33 per cent of Gaza’s 36 hospitals and 30 per cent of primary health care centers are currently functional in some capacity amid repeated Israeli attacks and shortages of vital medical supplies, fuel, and staff.

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The statement pointed out that WHO and its partners are urgently working to restore and resuscitate health services, including through expansion of services and pre-positioning of supplies, “but the broken health system would not be able to cope with a surge in casualties and deaths that a Rafah incursion would cause.”

“The three hospitals currently partially operational in Rafah will become unsafe to be reached by patients, staff, ambulance, and humanitarians when hostilities intensify in their vicinity and, as a result quickly become nonfunctional,” the statement warned.

The statement continued, “Despite the contingency plans and efforts, WHO warns that substantial additional mortality and morbidity is expected when the military incursion takes place.”

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WHO called for an immediate and lasting ceasefire and the removal of the obstacles to the delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance into and across Gaza, at the scale that is required.

WHO also called for the sanctity of healthcare to be respected. “The safety of health and humanitarian workers must be guaranteed. Those striving to save lives should not have to endanger their own. (T/RE1/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)