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WHO calls for urgent humanitarian aid to Gaza

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-12-11 10:09
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Injured children are seen at a hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, on Dec 8, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

GENEVA -- The World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board adopted a resolution on Sunday, urging for prompt and unobstructed humanitarian aid access to the Gaza Strip.

At the request of 17 member states, the Executive Board convened a special session at the WHO headquarters in Geneva to discuss the health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem.

In his opening remarks, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that "the impact of the conflict on health is catastrophic" and "Gaza's health system is on its knees and collapsing."

According to the WHO, only 14 hospitals out of the original 36 are partially functional, including two in the north of the Wadi Gaza and 12 in the south.

While condemning the attacks by Hamas on Israel and deploring the loss of over 1,200 lives, the WHO chief said that over 17,000 people are reported to have died in Gaza, including 7,000 children.

More than 46,000 injuries have been reported and 1.9 million people are displaced, "almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip," he underlined.

In accordance with international law, healthcare facilities are designated for protection during conflicts. However, Tedros said that since Oct. 7, WHO has verified more than 449 attacks on healthcare facilities in Gaza and the West Bank, and 60 attacks on healthcare facilities in Israel.

Tedros emphasized that a ceasefire is crucial for safeguarding and enhancing the health of the people in Gaza.

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