Amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza, a hospital in northern Gaza, which was raided by Israeli troops, has ceased functioning, and patients, including infants, have been evacuated, heightening the already precarious state of the enclave’s health services, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) official on Monday.
The Kamal Adwan hospital, reportedly breached by Israeli forces using a bulldozer, is no longer operational, as confirmed by Richard Peeperkorn, the WHO representative for Gaza. While Gazan authorities claim displaced individuals used the hospital, Israel alleges its connection to Hamas fighters.
Peeperkorn stated that two newborns were safely returned to their families with guidance on care, and other patients, including infants, were relocated to Al Ahli and Al Shifa hospitals. He also expressed concern about the reported detention of numerous health workers, emphasizing the critical need to preserve all regional hospitals.
The impact of the conflict on Gaza’s healthcare infrastructure is severe, with most hospitals rendered nonfunctional. Margaret Harris, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization, described the situation in Gaza hospitals as “beyond belief” and “unconscionable.”
UN officials, echoing frustration and disbelief, criticized the conditions in Gaza hospitals on Tuesday. Injured individuals lack essential supplies, and children recovering from amputations face lethal risks in the ongoing conflict. James Elder, spokesperson for the UN children’s agency, expressed anger at the deaths of recovering children in hospitals, citing two shellings of the Nasser Hospital, the largest operational hospital in Gaza, within the past 48 hours.
Gaza, home to 2.3 million people, has seen widespread displacement due to Israel’s offensive launched in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 incursion. While many have sought refuge in southern Gaza, reports indicate that several hundred thousand people remain in the north, where functional health facilities are crucial, according to Peeperkorn. Additionally, approximately 4,000 displaced individuals at the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis in southern Gaza face heightened risks amid ongoing Israeli military operations.
The dire circumstances in Gaza continue to raise concerns about the well-being of the civilian population, particularly in terms of access to healthcare and the safety of medical facilities.