GENEVA/GAZA CITY (The Thursday Times) — The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urgently called for a ceasefire in Gaza as Al Shifa Hospital, the region’s largest medical facility, faces catastrophic conditions amid ongoing conflicts. Dr. Tedros, Director-General of the WHO, emphasised the gravity of the situation. “The constant gunfire and bombings have exacerbated the already critical circumstances,” he said, highlighting the hospital’s struggle with no electricity, water, or functional internet for three days.
This crisis led to the tragic death of a newborn baby in an incubator, with 44 others at risk, reported Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesperson for the Gaza Health Ministry. Operations at the hospital have been suspended due to a severe fuel shortage.
The Israeli military and Hamas gunmen have been engaged in intense fighting in Gaza City, surrounding the hospital. Israel’s military, accused by Hamas of targeting hospitals and civilians, did not immediately comment on these allegations. Al-Qidra described a harrowing scene: “The occupation forces are firing on people moving inside the complex, limiting our ability to provide essential medical services.”
Israeli forces allege Hamas militants have placed command centers under Shifa hospital and others in Gaza, potentially making them military targets. This claim is contested by Hamas and health officials who argue that such actions endanger patients, medical staff, and evacuees seeking shelter in these facilities.
Dr. Tedros of the WHO expressed his dismay in a post on X: “It’s been 3 days without electricity, without water, and with very poor internet, severely impacting our ability to provide essential care,” he stated. The ongoing gunfire and bombings have led to a significant rise in patient fatalities, further deteriorating conditions at the hospital.
Dr. Tedros urged for immediate action, stating, “The world cannot stand silent while hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair.” He called for an immediate ceasefire, emphasising the urgent need to restore peace and safety to the region.