Attacks on health care in Gaza - WHO
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2:56
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Edited News | WHO

Attacks on health care in Gaza - WHO

Amid disastrous health situaion in Gaza, WHO is "begging for a ceasefire"

Amid the growing and disastrous health situation in Gaza, where more patients, including premature babies, have reportedly died in Gaza City’s Al-Shifa hospital, and where first winter rains have brought flooding into Gaza, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday reiterated its urgent call for a ceasefire in the Palestinian enclave.

“We've got so much infrastructural damage, we've got a lack of clean water. We've got people very, very crowded together nine times as many people as they were designed to contain. This is why we are begging for a ceasefire to happen now,” said Dr. Margaret Harris, WHO spokesperson, briefing journalists on Tuesday at the United Nations in Geneva.  

The latest update from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) indicates that all but one of the hospitals in Gaza city and northern Gaza are reportedly out of service, as of 13 November, due to the lack of power, medical consumables, oxygen, food and water, compounded by bombardments and fighting in their vicinities.

The besieged Al-Shifa, currently the only one still operational, is the epicentre of armed clashes in Gaza City following claims by the Israeli military that Hamas has built a command centre under the hospital. The claims have repeatedly been denied by medical professionals working there. The health facility has gone for days without electricity amid intensifying Israeli military operations.

“We've had 20 inpatient deaths reported in the last 48 hours,” said Dr. Harris. “Now, those numbers I have are very fluid; the situation may indeed be much worse…We know also that there's not enough food, that the staff is struggling to get clean water because the water tanks were destroyed, but they are still doing everything they can to keep providing medical care for the desperately ill patients they have.”

In Al-Shifa hospital, as of midnight, between 12 and 13 November, some 600 to 650 inpatients, 200 to 500 staff, and 1,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were believed to have remained in the hospital, according to OCHA. Among the patients at heightened risk of death were reportedly a number of kidney dialysis patients and 36 babies in incubators.

Dr. Harris hailed the extraordinary work of the medical staff saying that “they move the tiny babies because the incubator power had failed and they were trying to keep them warm, and they will be doing everything they know.” Dr. Harris stressed that “we as doctors do learn to work, to operate and function in very basic conditions. But remember, this is the most sophisticated, this is a tertiary referral hospital, so you're bringing in people who are well beyond basic care and now they can't do it because of the damage to the hospital and because of the complete lack of fuel supply.”

The Israeli authorities have called for the evacuation of hospitals in the north. However, as the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, this would be a “death sentence,” given that the entire medical system is collapsing and hospitals in southern Gaza cannot admit more patients.

“The people in the hospitals were very vulnerable, very sick. So, moving them was an impossible task and you were asking doctors and nurses to move people knowing that that would kill them,” emphasized Dr. Harris. “Why would you need to move them? A hospital should never be under attack. A hospital is a place, a safe-haven. This is agreed under international humanitarian law.”

According to WHO, some 135 attacks on health facilities have been documented in Gaza over the course of the past month.

“I hope this is the worst we ever see, because what we are also seeing is an increasing trend of many attacks on healthcare,” said Dr. Harris. “We've seen this in Sudan, we’ve seen this in Ukraine. It seems to be that somehow the understanding that a hospital must be a safe haven, a place where people come to be cured, to be treated when they are in trouble, when they are in need, it has been forgotten.”

-ends-

STORY: Attacks on health care in Gaza - WHO

TRT: 2:56”
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 14 November 2023 - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST

  1. Exterior medium shot: UN building with UN flag, UN Geneva.
  2. Wide shot, press briefing room with journalists and screens, UN Geneva
  3. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Margaret Harris, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “We've got so much infrastructural damage, we've got a lack of clean water. We've got people very, very crowded together with, I think in the order of shelters it's nine times as many people as they were designed to contain. So again, this is another reason why we are begging for a ceasefire to happen now.”
  4. Cutaway: Close up, journalist listening, UN Geneva
  5. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Margaret Harris, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “We've had 20 inpatient deaths reported in the last 48 hours. Now, those numbers I have are very fluid. So, you know, the situation may indeed be much worse. We know also that there's not enough food, that the staff is struggling to get clean water because the water tanks were destroyed, but they are still doing everything they can to keep providing medical care for the desperately ill patients they have.”
  6. Cutaway: Wide shot, press briefing room with journalists and cameraman, UN Geneva
  7. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) - Margaret Harris, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “I hope this is the worst we ever see, because what we are also seeing is an increasing trend of many attacks on healthcare. We've seen this in Sudan, we’ve seen this in Ukraine. It seems to be that somehow the understanding that a hospital must be a safe haven, a place where people come to be cured, to be treated when they are in trouble, when they are in need, it has been forgotten.”
  8. Cutaway: Wide shot, press briefing room with journalists and screens, UN Geneva
  9. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Margaret Harris, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “Pictures that they move the tiny babies because the incubator power had failed and they were trying to keep them warm. And they will be doing everything they know. We as doctors do learn to work, to operate and function in very basic conditions. But remember, as I said, this is the most sophisticated, this is a tertiary referral hospital, so, you're bringing in people who are well beyond basic care and now they can't do it because of the damage to the hospital and because of the complete lack of fuel supply.”
  10. Cutaway: Wide shot, press briefing room with spokesperson, journalists and screens, UN Geneva
  11. SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Margaret Harris, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “The people in the hospitals were very vulnerable, very sick. So, moving them was an impossible task. And you were asking doctors and nurses to move people knowing that that would kill them. And again, why would you need to move them? A hospital should never be under attack. A hospital is a place, a safe haven. This is agreed under international humanitarian law.”
  12. Cutaway: wide shot, press briefing room with journalists and screens, UN Geneva
  13. Cutaway: medium shot, journalist listening, UN Geneva
  14. Cutaway: close up, journalist listening, UN Geneva

 

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