Gaza is facing a public health disaster.


According to the UN humanitarian office, Gaza is facing a public health calamity as a result of the breakdown of its health system and the spread of illness during Israel’s onslaught, which has devastated hospitals and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Gaza is facing a public health disaster. Meanwhile, the chief of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees cautioned that Gazans were “running out of time and options.”

The UN and relief organizations have raised concerns about the spread of infectious illness in Gaza, where internal displacement has resulted in congestion in shelters and other temporary housing facilities.

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“We all know that the health-care system is or has collapsed,” Lynn Hastings, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, stated.

“We’ve got a textbook formula for epidemics and a public health disaster.” The World Health Organization has documented an increase in acute respiratory infections, diarrhea, lice, scabies, and other rapidly spreading illnesses.

According to Hastings, individuals in Gaza had to queue for hours to use the restroom. “You can imagine what the sanitation conditions are like,” she said.

According to Hasting, over half of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have fled to Rafah, the enclave’s southern point, to avoid Israeli shelling. “This is leading to nothing but a health crisis,” she said.

‘Facing the darkest chapter’

On Wednesday, UNRWA director Philippe Lazzarini told the Global Refugee Forum in Geneva that refugees endure bombing, hardship, and “disease in an ever-shrinking space.”

Palestinians were “facing the darkest chapter of their history since 1948, and it’s been a painful history,” he added. “We are very far from providing an adequate humanitarian response,” Lazzarini said.

He noted that when relief was brought, it was sometimes as little as a can of tuna or beans and one bottle of water for a big family to share. He described individuals stopping an aid vehicle in desperation and devouring the food found inside while standing on the street.

“The people of Gaza are now crammed into less than one-third of the original territory near the Egyptian border,” he continued, implying that the catastrophic situation might precipitate an exodus soon.

“It is unrealistic to think that people will remain resilient in the face of unlivable conditions of such magnitude, especially when the border is so close,” he told reporters.

According to Lazzarini, the population of Rafah on the Egyptian border, the sole gateway through which assistance enters Gaza, has risen from 280,000 to more than a million.

While UNRWA is responsible for most humanitarian distribution in Gaza, he cautioned that the agency’s capacity was “on the verge of collapsing.”

At the same occasion, UN refugee director Filippo Grandi cautioned media about the dangers of significant population transfers out of Gaza. Such a move “would be extremely destabilizing for Egypt, for the Sinai region, and it would make a problematic Palestinian problem more difficult” , he said.

He stressed that evacuating individuals from the destroyed area must not be “forced.” “Since these people are under bombardment and in a challenging situation, it must be said that a ceasefire is the only way out of this impasse.”