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WHO concerned over humanitarian health crisis in Gaza
Published Monday 09/12/2013 (updated) 11/12/2013 11:13
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The World Health Organization on Sunday expressed concern over a humanitarian health crisis in the Gaza Strip, as the health infrastructure struggles to cope with severe shortages in basic supplies.

"The accumulation of shortages in basic supplies in Gaza is leading to rapid deterioration in the social determinants of health for the population of 1.7 million Palestinians," WHO said.

Over 30 percent of medicines and 50 percent of medical disposables are out of stock in Gaza, and large generators used to power hospitals during 14-hour power cuts have frequent breakdowns.

One of the two generators powering the Gaza European hospital burned out last month, WHO said.

In recent months, government hospitals in Gaza have reduced non-urgent surgery by almost 50 percent to conserve fuel and medical supplies for cases of emergency.

Power shortages also directly and indirectly affect the health of Gazans, as water supplies are reduced, sewage pumps fail to operate and ground transportation for solid waste removal becomes less frequent.

"The severe and prolonged shortages of fuel, electricity and medicines along with widespread poverty stem from 6 years of tight restrictions into and out of Gaza's borders for people and goods," WHO said.

The lack of medicine in part also stems from shortages in the main warehouse as a result of the Palestinian Authority's budget deficit and a lack of medical donations and missions which used to arrive to Gaza from the Arab world.

"WHO calls for long-term systemic solutions to the chronic humanitarian crisis of shortages, rather than short-term aid which relieves but fails to improve the underlying social determinants of health in Gaza."

On Sunday, director of public relations for the main electricity authority in Gaza, Jamal Dardasawi, warned that the company would fail to meet even a minimum of six-hour electricity distribution a day as winter approaches due to increasing demand.

Last week, Amnesty International called on Israel to "immediately lift its blockade" on the Gaza Strip and allow the "delivery of fuel and other essential supplies into the territory without restrictions."

In November, the group highlighted the potentially disastrous implications for public health caused by a lack of fuel, pointing out that "all 291 water and wastewater facilities in the Gaza Strip are now relying on standby generators."

It also noted that a large sewage pumping station had failed south of Gaza City earlier in the month, "allowing more than 35,000 cubic meters of raw sewage to spew into the streets."

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.

The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.
1 ) Donna / NY
09/12/2013 11:56
If the WHO & UN were so concerned they could stop the Israeli genocide of the Palestinian people but the truth is the world and all these impotent organisations are just as responsible for the crimes against humanity carried out my the Nazis in Israel!

2 ) Rondo Mondo / Canada
09/12/2013 12:34
Palestinians need to stop lying to themselves. There is not sufficient fuel in Gaza because Hamas refuses to buy fuel from the PA at the prices set by the PA. Even with fuel for the energy plant in Gaza, there is still a shortage of energy because neither the PA or Hamas built the relay infrastructure needed for the plant to produce more than twice the amount of energy it was before the fuel disagreement between Hamas and Fatah. Palestinians need to take responsibility for their own problems.

3 ) Sherri Munnerlyn / US
09/12/2013 14:18
Israel occupies Gaza and owes a responsibility to protect the civilian population there. This unlawful Blockade makes a mockery of The Fourth Geneva Convention.

4 ) Donna Schwarz-Nielsen / Turkey
09/12/2013 16:04
Rondo: And how are they supposed to do that exactly when Israel controls everything going in and subsequently doesn't allow the necessary supplies to rebuild or upgrade the infrastructure.

5 ) Mel / USA
09/12/2013 17:43
#2:Rondo:Your argument could appy to Jews in Warsaw Ghetto,who were segregated,enclaved & deprived of options of MOBILITY,WORK&EARNINGS by Nazism,& only given access to attrition,poverty & extortionate black-market prices(X2,X3 market price)with electricity,water,heat all CUT off,as further punishment after Nazis bombed/blocked the ghetto!No trade/earnings means no OPTIONS!Or should the Jews have also taken"responsibilty for their actions"?PA prices are set by ISRAEL.Both take a blood-money cut!

09/12/2013 18:25
isn't it about time they tried to put some actual pressure on israel..they are just stating the obvious..now its time to actually do something aout it!!! This really can not be allowed to continue and until the powers that be wake up and say NO MORE to israel..nothing is going to change. WAKE UP AND DO YOUR JOB and help these poor people. <3 FOR FREEDOM, FOR JUSTICE, FOR PALESTINE <3

7 ) Peter Lake / Canada
09/12/2013 20:17
Rondo: Force me out of my home, encage me along with a couple of million others a cage almost within site of my home, Take potshots at me when I try to farm, keep my fishers from getting to their fishing grounds, assault and kill people on aide ships, destroy homes and kill whole families while your compatriots cheer you on from hilltops (see Blumanthal's, "Goliath"), and I'd likely lob some firecrackers too. Impressive how peaceful most Palestinians remain. They are a very impressive culture.

8 ) Peter / Canada
09/12/2013 20:34
Max Blumenthal, in his book, "Goliath" (undercover as a fake zionist) quoted an Israeli bureaucrat as joking that they were having Gazans 'see a dietician' ... to keep them under stress but not quite starving them to death. (Paraphrasing)

9 ) l / usa
09/12/2013 20:58
to # 4 israel controls everything because hamas and pa dont want to recognize israel as jewish state. may be if they stop violance against jews then maybe everything gonna open and peaceful. Palestinians are like 5 year old beggers they want everything and they wont to agree on anything. and plus can world for once stop worrying about palestinians i mean who cares if they live in poverty

10 ) Outlier / USA
10/12/2013 05:14
WHO should talk to Hamas, which is responsible. Hamas and Hamas ONLY. No other person, entity or country.

11 ) Alex / USA
10/12/2013 06:48
I am sure that Jerusalem has pragmatic border plan. Jews should unilaterely set up border posts, facing Ramallah and Gaza, vacate border posts between Ramallah and Jordan and close down all Israeli crossings into Gaza. Result: Ramallahwill be reponsible for its residents. I'm sure every Scandinavian country and EU get involved with billions of euros. Movement and transport between Ramallah and Gaza may be arranged with Jerusalem. Gaza would need to focus no establishing a state entity in order t

12 ) Colin Wright / USA
10/12/2013 09:48
To l #9 'israel controls everything because hamas and pa dont want to recognize israel as jewish state...' This is simply not true. Netanyahu dreamed up the 'Jewish state' demand when he needed something to block negotiations with. Otherwise, Israel would take everything and control it regardless of what the Palestinians did. The PA has been openly groveling for ten years now, and it's only encouraged Israel to still greater excesses.

13 ) southparkbear / usa
10/12/2013 13:36
to #7 peter but no gabriel. yes if your house is illegal, yes to fense if you try infiltrating to murder women and children.yes fishing restriction when boats r releasing domb ladden barrels using current to reach israel beaches as far as northt of Tel Aviv. in short palestinians wasted their credit lines, they eat what they saw

14 ) southparkbear / usa
14/12/2013 23:58
this must be a false alarm. for human there must be the ability to learn from mistakes. ergo nu humaniterian crisis in gaza
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