WHO appeals for humanitarian pause to gain access to Gaza

WHO appeals for humanitarian pause to gain access to Gaza
Palestinians gather at the site of an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 20, 2021. (AFP)
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Updated 21 May 2021

WHO appeals for humanitarian pause to gain access to Gaza

WHO appeals for humanitarian pause to gain access to Gaza

GAZA CITY: World Health Organization (WHO) officials on Thursday called for a humanitarian pause in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza to allow access for aid as the health system in the Palestinian enclave faces critical shortages.

WHO also issued an urgent appeal for $7 million to pay for a “comprehensive emergency response” in the Palestinian territories.

The number of people killed in Gaza since May 10 has risen to 232, the enclave’s Health Ministry said on Thursday as it confirmed five new deaths.

Gaza’s hospitals have been overwhelmed with waves of casualties from the Israeli bombardment, and supplies of vital medicines are rapidly running out in the blockaded coastal enclave.


There are fears that Gaza’s overcrowded shelters might cause a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of other infectious and skin diseases.

In addition, two leading doctors have been killed: Internal medicine consultant Ayman Abu Al-Ouf, who was leading the COVID-19 team at Al-Shifa Hospital, and Health Ministry neurologist Moeen Al-Aloul.

The Rimal Martyrs Health Center in Gaza City was targeted by Israeli bombs last Monday, said Dr. Ayman Al-Halabi, director general of medical support services at the Ministry of Health, which forced the central laboratory to halt all services.

Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra told Arab News: “The war is draining the limited capabilities of the ministry. The healthcare system will be at a dangerous juncture if the Israeli aggression continues. There is an acute shortage of medical personnel, medicines and medical supplies, as well as ambulances.”

Ezz El-Din Shaheen, an anesthesiologist and intensive care doctor at Al-Shifa Medical Complex, said the healthcare system in Gaza has had to deal with wars, disasters and other crises for a long time.

“Doctors, nurses, paramedics and technicians working in the health sector are divided into groups and a 24-hour shift system is adopted, then a rest period, then a 24-hour shift, and so on,” he said.