Arab News Digest

News from the Arab World


In the wake of the devastating Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank, the death toll has surged to at least 6,955, with over 19,000 individuals injured, the Ministry of Health said in an update this evening. The Ministry said in a statement that the number of deaths in the Gaza Strip has reached 6,850, while the death toll in the West Bank also surged to 105. In addition, the ministry said, 17,000 Palestinians have been injured in Gaza, and 1,900 others in the West Bank. According to the statement, a staggering 70% of the casualties in Gaza are children, women, and the elderly, highlighting the devastating impact of the ongoing Israeli genocidal aggression on the civilian population. The Ministry also sounded the alarm regarding the critical fuel shortage, which has severely affected the delivery of humanitarian aid. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the largest provider of humanitarian assistance in Gaza, has nearly exhausted its fuel reserves and has been forced to significantly reduce its operations. Only eight trucks carrying water, food, and medical supplies were able to enter through the Rafah crossing on the 24th of this month, said the Ministry. The World Health Organization is now working in coordination with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to facilitate the delivery of these supplies to hospitals. The dire situation in Gaza’s healthcare system is equally concerning. According to the Ministry of Health, 34% of Gaza’s hospitals are out of service, and 65% of primary healthcare centers are closed. The Ministry also reported that 149 Palestinian families have lost ten or more of their members in the recent Israeli offensive, while 123 families have lost between 6 to 9 members, and 416 families have lost between 2 to 5 members. In addition to the devastating loss of life, healthcare workers have been targeted. More than 260 attacks on healthcare personnel have been documented, resulting in 73 healthcare workers losing their lives, over 100 others being injured, and 50 ambulances being completely rendered out of service. Furthermore, 69 healthcare facilities have been attacked, with 12 of them now out of service. These facilities include the International Eye Hospital, Dar Al-Salam Hospital, Al-Yemen Al-Saeed Hospital, Psychiatric Hospital, Beit Hanoun Hospital, Durra Children’s Hospital, Hamad Rehabilitation Hospital, Al-Karama Hospital, and Al-Wafa Medical and Specialized Surgery Hospital. Meantime, it is expected that the Turkish Friendship Hospital will cease operations within 24-48 hours due to a severe fuel shortage. Additionally, the Red Crescent’s Al-Quds Hospital and the Arab Baptist Hospital are currently operating at reduced capacity and are at risk of closing due to Israeli shelling and fuel shortages. The Ministry of Health emphasized that 24 hospitals in northern Gaza have been requested to evacuate (with a total capacity of 2,000 beds), adding that there is a severe shortage of medicines, equipment, and essential healthcare personnel to treat the large number of wounded. The severe electricity crisis has even forced some surgeries to be performed without anesthesia, relying solely on mobile phone lights. The healthcare facilities in Gaza are operating at more than 150% of their capacity, with patients being treated in hallways and on the floor due to the lack of proper space. For instance, Shifa Medical Complex is currently treating 5,000 patients daily, while its capacity is only 700 patients. The situation is even more critical for cancer patients who depend on chemotherapy to stay alive. The Turkish Hospital, which relies on a single electric generator, is expected to shut down within 48-24 hours. More than 1,000 kidney dialysis patients have also had their session duration reduced from 4 hours to 2.5 hours, and over 130 premature infants in incubators face the risk of death due to the scarcity of resources and the lack of electricity.

Source: National News Agency – Lebanon