World Health Organization calls for access to patients in Gaza strip

WION Web Team
Geneva, Switzerland Published: May 28, 2021, 03:35 PM(IST)

A house damaged by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in Petah Tikva, May 13, 2021. Despite a blockade enforced by Israel and Egypt on Gaza, Palestinian militants ensconced in the enclave have used help from Iran, ingenuity and even plumbing pipes from long-abandoned Israeli settlements to make thousands of rockets enhanced with increased range and accuracy. (Dan Balilty/The New York Times) Photograph:( The New York Times )

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Before a truce took hold last Friday, Israeli air strikes and artillery fire on Gaza killed 253 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded more than 1,900 people in 11 days of conflict

The World Health Organization called on Friday for access to patients in the Gaza strip and the possibility to be able to evacuate them for medical treatment as health workers struggle to care for the sick and wounded after 11 days of violence.

WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told a Geneva briefing that around 600 patients, including some with chronic conditions, needed to be referred outside of the Palestinian enclave since hostilities began earlier this month, but had been unable to due to crossing closures.

Dozens of health centres were damaged during Israeli bombings earlier this month, prompting the WHO to warn that facilities risked being overwhelmed.

Before a truce took hold last Friday, Israeli air strikes and artillery fire on Gaza killed 253 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded more than 1,900 people in 11 days of conflict, the health ministry in Gaza says. 

Rocket and other fire from Gaza claimed 12 lives in Israel, including one child and an Arab-Israeli teenager, medics say. Some 357 people in Israel were wounded.

The Israeli bombardment of Gaza has ravaged homes and businesses as well as key power and water networks in the already impoverished enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade since 2007.

Some 258 buildings, comprising 1,042 housing and commercial units, have been completely destroyed, authorities in Gaza say, while the United Nations says at least 6,000 people have been made homeless.

The UN says it has released millions of dollars for its humanitarian response and other countries such as Qatar, Egypt and the United States have pledged millions more in aid. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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