Israel's Rafah Incursion Taking Dire Health Toll: WHO

Israel's Rafah incursion taking dire health toll: WHO

Geneva, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 29th May, 2024) Israel's military offensive in Rafah is already taking a dire health toll in southern Gaza, and if it continues, "substantial" increases in deaths can be expected, a top WHO official warned Tuesday.

Since Israel launched its long-threatened Rafah incursion in early May, access to healthcare in Gaza's southernmost city has been devastated, said Rik Peeperkorn, the World Health Organization's representative in the Palestinian territories.

Speaking to AFP and Reuters in a joint interview in Geneva, he pointed to the around one million people on the move since the incursion, which has left two of Rafah's three hospitals completely disfunctional.

Al-Najar, Rafah's most important hospital, which had been servicing 700 dialysis patients from all over the Palestinian territory, has shut down, as has the Kuwaiti hospital.

And the Emirati maternity and paediatric hospital was now "barely functional", Peeperkorn said, pointing out that it could no longer accept new patients.

"If the incursion would continue, we would lose that last hospital in Rafah," he warned.

That would mean that around 1.9 million people in southern Gaza will basically be fully dependent on a string of field hospitals along the coast.

It would still be possible to be referred to the Al Aqsa hospital in the middle part of Gaza, and Peeperkorn pointed out that WHO had helped revive two recently defunct hospitals in Khan Yunis, also in central Gaza.