The scene at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza city where relatives arrived to identify the remains of people killed in Israeli airstrikes, Gaza Strip 18 October 2023. EFE/EPA/FILE/MOHAMMED SABER EPA-EFE/HAITHAM IMAD

Many hospitals in Gaza on the verge of collapse: UN

Geneva, Oct 23 (EFE).- The main hospital in Gaza, Shifa Hospital, is on the verge of collapse, along with other health facilities in the region, due to the lack of electricity, medicines, equipment and personnel, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement.

“Shifa hospital in Gaza city, the largest in the Strip, is currently treating some 5,000 patients, significantly over its capacity of 700 patients,” OCHA said.

This is “in addition to approximately 45,000 IDPs (internally displaced people) taking refuge within and around the hospital. The Al Quds Hospital, also in Gaza city, is accommodating more than 400 patients and about 12,000 IDPs,” it added.

Due to the shortage of beds, a large number of patients are being treated on the ground, and that despite being overburdened the health centers continue to treat the patients because of the risk they face if they were to be transferred amid the Israeli threat.

“These and other hospitals are on the brink of collapse due to the shortage of electricity, medicine, equipment and specialized personnel,” the UN body remarked.

It further noted that 16 health workers have died in hostilities, in addition to 29 employees of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main humanitarian aid body that is still functional in Gaza.

The agency warned on Sunday that it has only fuel left for the next three days, needed to power hospitals or water desalination plants, for example.

Overcrowding is also seen in UNRWA-run schools and other facilities now used to shelter internally displaced persons in Gaza, who currently number 1.4 million in total.

Some 700,000 people live with family members, 71,000 in schools, 101,000 in hospitals, churches and other public buildings, and 580,000 in UNRWA schools and other shelters, many of which are designed to accommodate between 1,500 and 2,000 people each but currently are filled with double or triple the capacity.

“To ensure a safer environment, at night, women and children remain in the classrooms, while men and adolescent boys stay outdoors in the schoolyard,” OCHA reported.

In the 16 days of the war, Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 4,650 Palestinians, including nearly 1,900 children, over 1,000 women, and some 187 elderly individuals, according to the health ministry.

The number of injured people exceeds 14,000, and an estimated 1,450 people remain missing under the rubble of razed buildings, with 800 of them being minors. EFE