ISRAEL: Amid the escalating conflict in the Gaza Strip, hospitals throughout the area are confronting a dire situation, with a critical shortage of generator fuel looming.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has issued an urgent alert, stating that the fuel reserves in these hospitals are estimated to last for only around 24 more hours.
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If Gaza’s hospitals run out of fuel reserves in the next 24 hours, as anticipated, the lives of thousands of patients will be “at risk,” the UN is warning.
The shortage of generator fuel in Gaza’s hospitals is not just a logistical issue; it is a critical matter of life and death.
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According to OCHA, the potential shutdown of backup generators could leave thousands of patients in a precarious situation with limited access to vital medical services.
Among these patients are both children and adults with severe injuries, and their survival depends on the uninterrupted supply of electricity.
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Critical care facilities such as Nasser Hospital are overwhelmed with a high number of severely injured patients, including numerous young children.
The severity of the situation is evidenced by Shifa Hospital in Gaza City having to resort to burying 100 bodies in a communal grave due to the morgue being full. Tens of thousands of individuals seeking refuge have gathered within the hospital’s premises.
Gaza on brink
This crisis unfolds in the midst of an existing severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The coastal enclave, which has been under siege for years, is facing acute shortages of food, clean water, and fundamental safety. The situation is made even more challenging by the looming possibility of an Israeli ground offensive in retaliation for a deadly assault by Hamas.
The Israeli military, backed by an increasing presence of US warships in the region, is gathering forces along Gaza’s border, gearing up for a significant operation aimed at dismantling the militant group.
Gaza was already battling with a humanitarian crisis stemming from water and medical supply shortages attributed to the Israeli blockade.
The region is witnessing a severe water supply decline, and an unprecedented catastrophe is looming.
The United Nations and various humanitarian organisations are grappling with the challenge of providing aid to the increasing number of displaced individuals taking refuge in schools and facilities throughout Gaza.
The United States is actively engaged in facilitating an agreement to reopen the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, allowing foreign nationals to depart, and delivering vital humanitarian assistance.
However, this crossing, which was closed due to early airstrikes in the conflict, has yet to resume operations. Israel has tied the lifting of the blockade to the release of captives.
The ongoing conflict has inflicted a substantial toll on both sides. According to the reports, since the start of the fighting, 2,670 Palestinians have died and 9,600 have sustained injuries, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
This conflict is now the deadliest among the five Gaza wars, affecting both Palestinians and Israelis.
On the Israeli side, more than 1,400 individuals have perished, primarily civilians, making it the deadliest conflict since the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria.
In the midst of this intensifying conflict, international efforts to alleviate the crisis are in progress. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is returning to Israel following a swift tour of Arab nations, with the aim of preventing the situation from escalating into a wider regional conflict.
There are also discussions about a possible visit by President Joe Biden, although concrete plans are yet to be confirmed.
The escalation is not confined to Gaza alone. There has been an intensification of hostilities along Israel’s border with Lebanon, involving Hezbollah militants launching rockets and anti-tank missiles and Israel responding with airstrikes and artillery fire.
This uptick in violence has led to casualties on both sides and poses a significant risk of further destabilising the region.
Also Read: Gaza Border Crossing Slated to Reopen as Israeli Troops Gear up for Ground Assault