World Health Organization Warns of Disease Threat in Gaza

  • VOA News

    November 29, 2023 08:15

    Disease could pose a bigger threat to human life than bombings in Gaza, the World Health Organization said.
    Overcrowding and a lack of access to clean drinking water or sanitation systems has led to a breeding ground for infectious disease, particularly diarrhea in children, which has reached nearly 100 times its normal level, according to the WHO.
    "Eventually we will see more people dying from disease than we are even seeing from the bombardment if we are not able to put back (together) this health system," said WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris at a UN briefing Tuesday in Geneva.
    The WHO says food shortages have added to the disease risk, as people are getting weak from hunger, causing them to be more prone to illness.
    A boy gets drinking water during the ongoing Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah on Oct. 28, 2023. /AP
    People in Gaza also face difficulty in getting treatment, as there is limited medical staff and a shortage of access to medicines and vaccinations.
    Disruptions in collection of garbage from crowded shelters has furthered concern over risk of disease.
    The WHO, in response to the conditions in Gaza, has called for a cease-fire, "sustained access for aid into Gaza," "protection of civilians and health care," and "respect for international humanitarian law," on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.
    Israel declared war on U.S.-designated terror group Hamas after its shock Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people and led to the Hamas capture of about 240 hostages. Israel's campaign against Hamas militants has killed more than 14,000 people, according to Gaza health officials.
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