With fuel for just two hours of electricity per day, Al Quds Hospital, in the city of Gaza, announced this Wednesday (8) that it has closed several essential services provided by the unit, including surgeries, according to the Office for Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations (Ocha). As a result, the limited energy will only be used for refugees sheltering in the health unit’s facilities.
“Al Quds Hospital in Gaza City announced that its main generator had been turned off and that it was using a smaller generator to reduce fuel consumption. As a result, the surgical ward, oxygen generation unit and MRI ward had to close,” the report said.
The UN office added that areas near this hospital were bombed. “Intense shelling caused significant damage to the building and injuries to patients and dozens of internally displaced people,” reported the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS), a humanitarian organization operating in Palestine.
Also this Thursday, another hospital, Al Awda, indicated that its fuel stock should be exhausted within 30 hours. “This hospital provides emergency services and specialized surgeries, and is the only provider of maternity services in the north of the Gaza Strip,” says Ocha.
Since the start of hostilities, 14 of Gaza’s 35 hospitals with inpatient capacity have been closed and 71% of all primary care facilities have been closed because of bombing or lack of fuel, Ocha reports.
Diarrhea and contaminations
The World Health Organization (WHO) today warned of the increased spread of disease as health, water and sanitation systems are being disrupted.
Since October, more than 33,000 cases of diarrhea have been reported, more than half of which were in children under five years of age. For comparison purposes, in 2021 and 2022 the average number of cases of diarrhea recorded was 2,000 cases in children under five, according to the WHO.
“Fuel shortages have led to the closure of desalination plants, significantly increasing the risk of bacterial infections, such as diarrhea, which spread as people consume contaminated water. The lack of fuel also compromised the collection of solid waste, creating an environment conducive to the rapid and widespread proliferation of insects and rodents that can carry and transmit diseases,” he said.
The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs also highlighted that the aid coming through Egypt serves a small fraction of Palestinian society. “The drinking water brought in serves only 4% of Gaza residents, while desperately needed fuel remains banned [pelas autoridades israelenses]”, he informed.