| 28 February 2024, Wednesday |

Gaza faces public health disaster, UN humanitarian office says

The U.N. humanitarian office declared on Wednesday that Gaza was facing a public health catastrophe as a result of the disease outbreak and the collapse of its healthcare system in the midst of an Israeli operation that has destroyed hospitals and forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.

Concerns concerning the spread of infectious diseases in Gaza, where 85% of the population has been internally displaced and is living in overcrowded shelters and other temporary housing, have been raised by the UN and humanitarian organizations.

Israel, which went to war in Gaza after the Palestinian enclave’s ruling Hamas militants launched a devastating attack on its southern communities on Oct. 7, has told civilians to flee battle zones and says it seeks avert humanitarian distress.

“We all know that the health care system is or has collapsed,” said Lynn Hastings, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“We’ve got a textbook formula for epidemics and a public health disaster.”

WHO has reported a sharp rise in acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, lice, scabies and other fast-spreading diseases.

Hastings said people in Gaza had to line up for hours just to access a toilet.

“You can imagine what the sanitation conditions are like,” she said.

  • Reuters