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WHO warns:

Patients at al-Shifa Hospital must be evacuated

4 Apr 2024 - 13:11

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that that further fatalities could happen if the patients in al-Shifa Hospital are not quickly evacuated.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a media briefing on Wednesday commented on the destruction of al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following the Israeli army’s two-week raid, saying “the situation looks disastrous.”

The urgency to speed up the evacuation process was emphasized by the WHO chief, as he expressed concerns about the potential loss of numerous lives if action is not taken promptly.

“The people who need medical evacuation will increase, and medical evacuation is already slow,” Tedros said, adding that “people will die because they will not get the services either from Shifa or because of slow evacuation, because they cannot be evacuated.”

He also added that he is “appalled” that the al-Shifa hospital has been put out of action and that much of it has been badly damaged or destroyed.

Al-Shifa was the largest hospital and main referral center in the Gaza Strip, with 750 beds, 26 operating rooms, 32 intensive care rooms, a dialysis department and a central laboratory.

Israel claims Hamas fighters operate from in and around hospitals, which the Palestinian resistance movement and medical staff reject.

Tedros reiterated his call for hospitals in Gaza to be “respected and protected” and “not be used as battlefields.”

The WHO chief also said that only 10 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are still able to function even partially and that WHO will continue to support those hospitals to deliver services as best they can.

He added that the UN agency is seeking to visit the location where Al-Shifa stood in order to engage with the staff and assess the extent of salvageable resources. 

According to WHO, since the Israeli assault on Gaza on October 7, 906 attacks on health care in Gaza, the West Bank, the occupied territories and Lebanon have been verified, resulting in 736 deaths and 1,014 injuries.

Story Code: 630503

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Taghribnews (TNA)