UNOG NEWS Update health care in Gaza UNICEF WHO 21NOV2023
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Edited News | UNICEF , WHO

Update health care in Gaza UNICEF - WHO

Tragic yet entirely avoidable surge in the number of children dying, warns UNICEF

 

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Tuesday of a rising but entirely avoidable number of children dying in Gaza due to restricted access to water and sanitation, after six weeks of aerial bombardment by Israeli forces in response to the 7 October Hamas terror attacks on southern Israel that claimed 1,200 lives and some 240 hostages.

 

“If children’s access to water and sanitation in Gaza continues to be restricted and insufficient, we will see a tragic yet entirely avoidable surge in the number of children dying,” said UNICEF spokesperson James Elder. “It's also important to know it's starting to rain in Gaza. Now combined, children face a serious threat of mass disease outbreak. This, of course, would be lethal.”

 

Mr. Elder noted that the emergency threshold of a minimum amount of water per day is 15 liters, to drink, to cook, to clean and prevent waterborne and other infectious diseases.

Having control of fuel and access to water was to control whether thousands of children will live or die, Mr. Elder insisted

 

“More than 5,350 Palestinian children have already been reportedly killed,” he continued. “Now, the death toll among children is sickening. Grief is becoming embedded in Gaza. So, this then is a stark warning without sufficient fuel, without sufficient water, conditions for children will plummet.”

 

At least 30 Israeli children are still being held hostage “somewhere in this hellscape”, the UNICEF official continued. “They must be released. It's abhorrent to think of their fear, to think of the torment that their families are enduring. It has to end.”

 

Alluding to the joint UN mission that over the weekend evacuated 31 premature and low birthweight babies from Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza to Al-Emarati Maternity Hospital in southern Gaza and then to Egypt, Mr. Elder said that “Al-Shifa is rightly a focus of premature babies, one of society's most vulnerable miracles. But of course, whilst the world is waiting for images or whatever it is, of tunnels out, of Shifa, it's very important to remember that we have an average of just over 100 children, 100 boys and girls, are still being reportedly killed every single day, everywhere else across Gaza, which of course is the exact opposite of a miracle.”

 

Amid warnings that no hospitals in the Gaza Strip are operating normally, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that it is preparing for the evacuation in three hospitals in the besieged enclave. The evacuation request is indicative of the desperation felt by hospital staff who fear for their lives and have become unable to care for the patients due to the lack of fuel, water and food.

 

“The hospitals should be the only, the last safe place where people can go to because taking away a hospital from an area doesn't only mean the physical evacuation of the patients and the doctors and the nurses,” said Christian Lindmeier, WHO spokesperson. “It means robbing the entire population of that area of the last resort to go to, to seek healthcare. The last resort of humanity. When you're injured, when you have a regular disease, when you have asthma, or when you have shrapnel and bullet wounds or crush injuries from the ongoing war.”

 

The WHO spokesperson explained that such evacuations were extremely complicated and dangerous, requiring coordination with Israeli Defense Forces and with Hamas “to get to a safer place inside Gaza”. The evacuation teams will “need time, they need preparation, they need specialized equipment, they need safe passage”, Mr. Lindmeier said.

 

As the WHO continues to make plans to evacuate the remaining 200 patients and 50 health staff from Al-Shifa hospital, it noted that “there are estimated 50,000 pregnant women” in Gaza. “Most of them will be giving birth without any skilled attendants in hospital and that translates again to about 180 babies born every single day.”

 

Of these 180 newborns, more than 20 will require specialized care, just like the infants from the Al-shifa hospital in Gaza City, said the WHO. The original number of infants was 33 but two died before the evacuation “because of the lack of care available to them”.

 

-ends-

TRT: 3:33”
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 21 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) – James Elder, UNICEF spokesperson: “More than 5,350 Palestinian children have already been reportedly killed. Now, the death toll among children is sickening. Grief is becoming embedded in Gaza. So, this then is a stark warning without sufficient fuel, without sufficient water, conditions for children will plummet.”
4.    Cutaway: Wide shot, press briefing room with camera woman, journalists and screens, UN Geneva
5.    SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – James Elder, UNICEF spokesperson: “At least 30 Israeli children are still being held hostage somewhere in this hellscape. They must be released. It's abhorrent to think of their fear, to think of the torment that their families are enduring. It has to end.”
6.    Cutaway: Close up, technicians listening
7.    SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – James Elder, UNICEF spokesperson: “If children’s access to water and sanitation in Gaza continues to be restricted and insufficient, we will see a tragic yet entirely avoidable surge in the number of children dying. It's also important to know it's starting to rain in Gaza. Now combined, children face a serious threat of mass disease outbreak. This, of course, would be lethal.”
8.    Cutaway: Close up, journalist listening 
9.    SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – James Elder, UNICEF spokesperson: “Shifa is rightly a focus of premature babies. Of course, you know, one of society's most vulnerable miracles, if you will. But of course, whilst the world is waiting for, you know, images or whatever it is of tunnels out of Shifa, it's very important to remember that we have an average of just over a hundred children, a hundred boys and girls, are still being reportedly killed. Every single day, everywhere else across Gaza, which of course is the exact opposite of a miracle.”
10.    Cutaway: Medium shot, spokesperson and moderator, UN Geneva
11.    SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “We have been talking a lot about 31 premature infants evacuated from one hospital in a huge event that has been catching public attention. But again, 181 every day and more than 20 of those on average need specialized care every day, just like the 31 evacuated from al-Shifa.”
12.    Cutaway: Close up, UN staff listening.
13.    SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “There are estimated 50,000 pregnant women. Most of them will be giving birth without any skilled attendants in hospital. And that translates again to about 180 babies born every single day.”
14.    Cutaway Close up, UN staff listening. 
15.    SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH) – Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “The hospitals should be the only the last safe place where people can go to because taking away a hospital from an area doesn't only mean the physical evacuation of the patients and the doctors and the nurses. It means robbing the entire population of that area of the last resort to go to, to seek health care. The last resort of humanity. When you're injured, when you have a regular disease, when you have asthma, or when you have shrapnel and bullet wounds or crush injuries from the ongoing war.”
16.    Cutaway: wide shot, press briefing room with journalists and screens, UN Geneva
17.    Cutaway: close up, journalist listening, UN Geneva
18.    Cutaway: close up, journalist listening, UN Geneva


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