The situation in Gaza is dire, with the World Health Organisation warning that the region is on the “precipice of major disease outbreaks.” Of the 36 hospitals in Gaza, 22 are out of action, leaving 800,000 people crammed into overcrowded schools and other “collective centers.” Skin infections, including scabies, jaundice, and diarrhea are being found. There is one toilet for several hundred people and “open defecation,” regional emergency director Richard Brennan told Sky News.
The schools were designed to accommodate displaced people but their populations are six to eight times what they were intended for. Others are living in tents with each person having only one to three liters of clean water per day, which is far below the accepted minimum in a humanitarian crisis of seven liters. This has led to chest infections, respiratory infections and cases of jaundice that give concern for hepatitis.
The WHO is working with authorities to trace the parents of 31 premature babies evacuated from al-Shifa hospital and taken to southern Gaza. Many of the babies are very low in weight and all have serious infections. Mr. Brennan said that the next few weeks will be “very tough indeed.” Many families are subsisting on one meal a day.
While Mr. Brennan described it as “one of the few good news stories of the war so far,” he added: “We don’t know where any of the parents are or how many of them are orphans.” The situation remains dire with many health concerns looming ahead as resources continue to dwindle amidst ongoing conflict.