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Friday, May 24, 2024

WHO cancels another planned medical aid mission to Gaza

This marks the sixth cancellation in just two weeks, raising alarming questions about the humanitarian situation in the region.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has canceled yet another planned medical aid mission to Gaza, citing security concerns as the primary reason. This marks the sixth cancellation in just two weeks, raising alarming questions about the humanitarian situation in the region. The ongoing conflict, intense bombardment, and a series of challenges have hindered the delivery of essential medical aid, exacerbating an already dire health crisis.

Security Concerns Hamper Aid Efforts

The director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressed deep concern over the situation, highlighting the challenges faced by the UN agency in gaining approval for missions to northern Gaza. The absence of assurances regarding the safety of aid workers and the unpredictable security conditions have led to a series of cancellations. The inability to reach those in need due to movement restrictions, fuel shortages, and interrupted communications has further complicated the delivery of vital humanitarian assistance.

Read More: Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital a ‘bloodbath’ says WHO

Deteriorating Health Infrastructure

With only 15 hospitals in Gaza partially functional, the health infrastructure is on the verge of collapse. The WHO warns that these conditions are fertile ground for the spread of infectious diseases. Richard Peeperkorn, the WHO representative in Gaza, pointed out a disturbing statistic – the number of diarrhea cases among children under five was 20 times higher in November 2023 compared to the previous year’s average. The deteriorating health conditions underscore the urgent need for international assistance.

Infectious Disease Outbreaks

The precarious situation in Gaza is fueling concerns of potential infectious disease outbreaks. The crowded living conditions, limited access to clean water, and compromised sanitation facilities create a perfect storm for the rapid transmission of diseases. The WHO emphasizes the critical need for immediate action to address the health crisis and prevent the further escalation of infectious diseases, particularly among vulnerable populations.

Humanitarian Appeal to Israel

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on Israel to approve requests from the WHO and other humanitarian partners to deliver aid to Gaza. The international community is urged to prioritize the immediate needs of the affected population and work towards a sustainable solution to ensure the safe and unimpeded delivery of medical assistance.

Read More: IDF opened fire on a medical convoy led by WHO

Even with a potential ceasefire, the WHO’s emergency director, Mike Ryan, acknowledges the enormity of the task to restore Gaza’s public health system. The cumulative impact of the conflict on healthcare facilities, coupled with the existing challenges, poses a gargantuan challenge that requires coordinated efforts from the international community.