WHO Warns of a Possible Public Health Crisis in Gaza

The World Health Organization declared on October 31 a potential public health catastrophe in Gaza due to overcrowding, widespread displacement, and damage to the infrastructure supporting water and sanitation.

WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier issued a warning regarding the possibility of civilian fatalities unrelated to Israeli airstrikes.

More than 8,300 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza health officials, since Israel started bombing the Hamas-run enclave on October 7 in retaliation for the attacks that left 1,400 Israelis dead and more than 200 captives in the hands of Hamas.

Of these fatalities, around 41.5% are children, 45% are female, and 55% are male.

Last week, the Israeli military started conducting ground operations in Gaza.

According to the organization, gas, food, medical supplies, water, and sanitation, are all diminishing.

It's an imminent public health catastrophe that looms with the mass displacement, the overcrowding, the damage to water and sanitation infrastructure.

- Lindmeier

All medications and medical supplies, including those required for treating chronic illnesses, providing acute and emergency care, preserving the lives of infants, treating cancer patients, and providing intensive care, are also running low.

There is a severe scarcity of healthcare staff, thus calling for blood donation and outside blood supply.

Lindmeier acknowledged that issues other than the bombing are the reason behind people's deaths.

When water flow reaches only 5% of typical levels, newborns are at risk of dying from dehydration, according to a spokesman for the United Nations Children's Fund, James Elder.

When the body loses more fluid than is consumed, dehydration results, in reducing the body's regular water content and throwing off the mineral balance in the body, impairing its ability to operate.

He claimed that dehydration is becoming a greater concern to children and is especially killing infants. He continued by saying that drinking salted water is making kids sick.

Additionally, Elder says there are 940 children reported missing in Gaza, with some of them perhaps trapped under the rubble.

Early on October 31, the U.N. humanitarian agency announced in a statement that water supplies to southern Gaza had stopped "for unknown reasons" on October 30.

Lindmeier demanded that fuel be permitted into Gaza so that a desalination plant could run. Israel has blockaded the Gaza Strip and won't let gasoline supplies in, claiming Hamas would use them for armed action.


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