Gaza Update WHO - OHCHR 26 January 2024
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Edited News | OHCHR , WHO

Gaza Update WHO - OHCHR 26 January 2024

UN human rights office concerned about violence spilling into Rafah amid disastrous living conditions

 

As conflict in Gaza intensifies in the Khan Younis area and pushes more Palestinians south in search of shelter, increasingly desperate civilians continue to bear the brunt of the escalation, the UN human rights office said on Friday.

“In Rafah, I saw displaced people who had been ordered by Israeli authorities to leave their homes with no provision for their accommodation, literally living on the street with sewage running in the streets, and conditions of desperation conducive for a complete breakdown in order,” said Ajith Sunghay, Head of the UN Human Rights Office for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

 

Speaking from Jordan’s capital, Amman, to journalists in Geneva, the OHCHR officer added that people feared the extreme violence would “spill into Rafah, with catastrophic implications for the more than 1.3 million people already crowded there”, almost 50 per cent of the population of the Strip.

 

Intense fighting in and around Khan Younis, in southwest Gaza, in the last three days has claimed lives and damaged vital civilian infrastructure. On Wednesday, a strike against a UN shelter in Khan Younis killed 13 people and injured 56, despite being an area where the Israeli military had previously told Gazans to flee for their safety, explained Mr. Sunghay.

“The Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) shelling continues in areas that it has unilaterally designated as safe areas, including a mosque in western Khan Yunis. Even after explosions were reported in Al-Mawasi on 22 and 23 January, the IDF continued to order residents of western Khan Younis to move there,” he said.

 

Evacuation orders were reissued “repeatedly” on 23, 24 and 25 January, reportedly impacting more than half a million people as well as three hospitals which have faced heavy attacks and siege. “The continued attacks on specifically protected facilities such as hospitals will kill civilians and there will be a further massive impact on access to health care, safety and security in general of Palestinians,” Mr. Sunghay maintained.

 

The development came as the Israel military continues its offensive against Hamas amid reports that Israeli leaders have said that to complete their destruction of Hamas, they must eventually widen their offensive to Rafah, at the border crossing with Egypt.

 

“That will be disastrous because there are two places’ people can flee to,” explained Mr. Sunghay.

“On one side you have the Mediterranean Sea, on the other side you have the Egyptian border. You have fighting? in the north and you have fighting? on the Khan Younis side. So, you can only speculate what's going to happen. We are talking about 1.3 million already. If you have people moving in large numbers from Khan Younis and other places, this is going to be a massive catastrophe.”

 

Amid Israeli airstrikes and street-to-street fighting between IDF soldiers and Palestinian armed groups, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) also reiterated serious concerns for healthcare workers and patients caught up in the violence.

 

Since war erupted in Gaza, there have been “676 attacks verified in the occupied Palestinian territories”, said Christian Lindmeier, WHO spokesperson. “That's 318 in Gaza and 358 in the West Bank. It's always important to note that we have more attacks in the West Bank than in Gaza,” he added. According to the UN health agency, “only 14 hospitals out of the 36 health facilities are still functioning, seven in the south and seven in the north. Twenty hospitals are not functioning at all.”

 

Since 7 October when heavy Israeli bombardment began in Gaza in response to Hamas-led terror attacks in which some 1,200 people were butchered and more than 250 taken hostage, more than 26,000 Palestinians have died, according to the enclave’s health officials. A full 75 per cent of the victims are children and women, and there have been at least 60,000 registered injuries. The UN health agency said that an estimated additional 8,000 are missing, presumed dead under the rubble.

 

Ends

Story: Gaza update 

Speakers:

  • Ravina Shamdasani, OHCHR Spokesperson
  • Ajith Sunghay, Head of the UN Human Rights Office for the Occupied Palestinian Territory (speaking from Jordan) and
  • Christian Lindmeier, WHO Spokesperson

 

TRT: 3’32”
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 26 January 2024 - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Geneva press briefing at UNOG



SHOTLIST

  1. Exterior medium shot: UN flag alley  
  2. Wide shot: speakers at the press conference 
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) – Ajith Sunghay, Head of UN Human Rights Office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: “In Rafah, I saw displaced people who had been ordered by Israeli authorities to leave their homes, with no provision for their accommodation, literally living on the street, with sewage running in the streets and conditions of desperation conducive for a complete breakdown in order.”
  4. Wide shot: press room with journalists and speakers at the podium
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) – Ajith Sunghay, Head of UN Human Rights Office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: “The people I spoke to fear the extreme violence is spilling into Rafah, which will have catastrophic implications for the more than 1.3 million people already crowded there. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) shelling continues in areas that were unilaterally designated as “safe” areas, including Al-Mawasi in western Khan Younis. Even after the explosions were reported in Al-Mawasi on 22nd and 23rd January, the IDF continued to order residents of western Khan Younis to move there.”
  6. Medium shot: press room with journalists and speakers at the podium and photographer
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) – Ajith Sunghay, Head of UN Human Rights Office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: “Having personally witnessed and heard the testimonies of those who have endured so much pain and suffering, I am very, very worried. I fear that many more civilians will die. The continued attacks on specifically protected facilities, such as hospitals, will kill civilians, and there will be a further, massive impact on access to health care, safety and security in general of Palestinians.”
  8. Medium shot: podium with speakers and screen showing remote speaker
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) – Ajith Sunghay, Head of UN Human Rights Office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: “If the incursions and the bombardments or the street-to-street fights move from Khan Younis into Rafah, that will be disastrous further, because there are only two places people can flee to: on one side you have the Mediterranean Sea, on the other side you have the Egyptian border. You have fight in the north, and you have fight on the Khan Younis side. So, you can only speculate what's going to happen. And we are talking about 1.3 million already, and if you have people moving in large numbers from Khan Younis and other places, this is going to be a massive catastrophe.”
  10. Medium shot: press room with journalists and speaker on screen
  11. SOUNDBITE (English) – Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “We have now registered over 26,000 deaths with 75 per cent being children and women, and at least 60,000 registered injuries. But as colleagues also just said, over 8,000 are missing and presumed dead under the rubble, they have not yet been counted into the casualty count.”
  12. Wide shot: press room with journalists and speakers at the podium
  13. SOUNDBITE (English) – Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “We have 676 attacks verified in the occupied Palestinian territories, and that's 318 in Gaza and 358 in the West Bank. I find this is always important to note that we have more attacks in the West Bank than in Gaza and that's with the horrific scenario we know from Gaza.”
  14. Wide shot: press briefing room with journalists and speakers at the podium
  15. SOUNDBITE (English) – Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO): “Only 14 out of the 36 health facilities, the hospitals, are partially functioning for the whole of Gaza: seven in the south, seven in the north, 20 hospitals are not functioning at all.”
  16. Close up, journalist listening
  17. Medium shot, journalists listening


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