Fuel shortages in Gaza will have ‘catastrophic’ impact on health services: WHO

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The World Health Organization chief has warned that a dire lack of fuel in the Gaza Strip could have a “catastrophic” impact on already devastated health services in the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

Desperate fuel shortages have been a constant problem in the besieged Palestinian territory, facing intense Israeli bombardment since October 7.

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“Further disruption to health services is imminent in Gaza due to a severe lack of fuel,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said late Thursday on X, formerly Twitter.

The UN health agency cautioned that only 90,000 liters of fuel entered Gaza on Wednesday -- even as the health sector alone needs 80,000 liters daily.

This is forcing WHO and its partners working in Gaza “to make impossible choices”, Tedros said.

Gaza is completely sealed off and everything that enters it is controlled by the Israelis.

Fuel, which has been particularly difficult to get in because Israeli has claimed it could benefit Hamas fighters, is vital to keep hospital generators running, as well as humanitarian and emergency vehicles.

WHO said that its partners were currently directing limited fuel supplies to “key hospitals”, including the Nasser Medical Complex and Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis and the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah.

Fuel was also going to 21 ambulances run by the Palestinian Red Crescent “to prevent services from grinding to a halt”, Tedros said.

He pointed out that the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis had been out of service since Tuesday, and warned that “losing more hospitals in the Strip would be catastrophic.”

Israel’s offensive in Gaza, in retaliation to Hamas’s October 7 attack, has killed at least 38,011 people, mostly women and children, according to figures from the territory’s health ministry.

With AFP.

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