Following Israel’s bombardment of Gaza last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement warning of “staggering health needs” in the Palestinian territories.
“WHO is scaling up its response to provide health aid for almost 200,000 people in need across …. Palestine,” WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean regional office said in a statement.
“The situation is volatile. WHO remains concerned… and calls for unhindered access for humanitarian and development-related essential supplies and staff into Gaza and referral of patients out of Gaza whenever needed,” warned the WHO’s Rik Peeperkorn.
Last month, tensions between Israel and the Palestinians reached a breaking point, culminating in an 11-day exchange of rocket fire from Gaza and catastrophic Israeli airstrikes.
According to local sources, Israeli attacks on the enclave killed 254 Palestinians, including 66 children and several warriors.
Twelve people were killed in Israel as a result of a Palestinian terrorist fire, including a toddler, a teenager, and an Israeli soldier.
“Over 77,000 people were internally displaced and around 30 health facilities have been damaged” in the hostilities, the WHO statement said.
Since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, Israel has imposed a land and maritime embargo on the poor and densely populated enclave, which is home to nearly two million Palestinians.
Gaza’s sole non-Israeli route to the outside world is Egypt’s tightly guarded Rafah border.
“Palestinians’ lives are deteriorating; many of the people affected by the conflict are in urgent need of aid and face other health threats like COVID-19,” Peeperkorn said.
The global health body said that as of May 31, “337,191 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,765 deaths have been reported in OPT, with positive cases increasing in Gaza in recent weeks”.
It claimed it issued a $7 million appeal last month to assist shore up its health operations in the Palestinian Territories, but only got $2.3 million in response.