WHO describes Al-Shifa as “bloodbath”

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Foreign Desk

GENEVA: The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported alarming conditions at Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical center in Gaza, describing its emergency department as a “bloodbath.”

The hospital is overwhelmed with hundreds of injured patients, WHO said, as new cases are arriving every minute. Trauma patients are being treated on the floor due to the lack of space, and pain management options are limited.

“The emergency department is so crowded that health workers must exercise caution not to step on patients on the floor. Critical patients are being transferred to Al-Ahli Arab Hospital for necessary surgeries,” it said.

Tens of thousands of displaced people have sought refuge in and around the hospital premises, highlighting the urgent need for a comprehensive humanitarian response to provide them with essential resources such as food, water, and shelter.  

The humanitarian crisis is further exacerbated by severe shortages of food and safe water for health workers, patients, and displaced individuals at Al-Shifa Hospital.  

The WHO said it was committed to strengthening Al-Shifa Hospital in the coming weeks to restore at least basic functionality, ensuring it can continue providing critical life-saving services during this crucial time.

Activation of up to 20 operating theatres, along with post-operative care services, is contingent upon a consistent supply of fuel, oxygen, medicines, food, and water, the organization said. Urgent requirements include additional specialized medical, nursing, and support staff, including emergency medical teams.

Currently, Al-Ahli Arab Hospital is the only partially functional hospital in northern Gaza, accompanied by three minimally functional hospitals – Al-Shifa, Al Awda, and Al Sahaba Medical Complex – a stark decline from the 24 hospitals operating before the start of the Israeli aggression.