New Delhi: The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed shocking information about the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, where a deadly war is raging between Israel and Hamas. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the UN Security Council on Friday that the health care system in Gaza has completely collapsed and that one child is dying every 10 minutes on average.
He said that half of Gaza’s 36 hospitals and two-thirds of its primary health centers are either damaged or not functioning due to the Israeli airstrikes and shelling. He said that those who are working are overwhelmed by the influx of wounded and sick people and that they are facing severe shortages of medicines, equipment, and fuel. He said that the health workers are risking their lives to save others, but they are also exhausted and traumatized.
He said that tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the violence and are taking shelter in hospitals, schools, and other facilities. He said that these places are overcrowded and lack basic amenities such as food, water, and sanitation. He said that the people are living in fear and despair and that nowhere and no one is safe in Gaza.
He said that since October 7, when Hamas fired rockets at Israel, triggering a massive retaliation by the Israeli forces, more than 10,800 people have been killed in Gaza, of which about 70% are women and children. He said that the World Health Organization has confirmed more than 250 attacks on Gaza’s health facilities, as well as 25 attacks on Israeli hospitals. He said that these attacks are unacceptable and violate the international humanitarian law.
He urged the parties to the conflict to respect the sanctity of health care and to protect the health workers, patients, and facilities. He also called for an immediate ceasefire and a humanitarian corridor to allow the delivery of essential supplies and the evacuation of the wounded and the sick.
Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan told the Security Council that Israel is doing its best to avoid civilian casualties and to minimize the damage to the health infrastructure in Gaza. He said that Israel has formed a task force to establish a hospital in southern Gaza and that it is in advanced talks with the UAE, ICRC, and other European countries regarding the establishment of field hospitals and floating hospital ships. He said that Israel is ready to cooperate with the WHO and other humanitarian agencies to provide medical assistance to the people of Gaza.
He said that Israel is defending itself against the terrorist organization Hamas, which he accused of hiding weapons and fighters in tunnels beneath hospitals, schools, and mosques. He said that Hamas is using the civilian population as human shields and is deliberately targeting Israeli civilians with rockets. He said that Israel has the right and the duty to protect its citizens from the Hamas aggression.
The Security Council observed a moment of silence at the beginning of the meeting in memory of the 101 people working with the United Nations Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA), as well as the civilians killed in Israel and Gaza.
The Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections are scheduled to be held on 28 November 2023. The BJP is seeking to retain power in the state, where it has been ruling since 2003, except for a brief period of 15 months when the Congress formed the government in 2018. The Congress, on the other hand, is hoping to regain its lost ground and challenge the BJP’s dominance. The main issues in the polls are likely to be the COVID-19 pandemic, the farm laws, the unemployment, the inflation, and the law and order situation.