The World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned the forced evacuation of thousands of patients from Northern Gaza to overcrowded healthcare facilities in the south as a “death sentence.”
The UN-affiliated organization strongly rebuked the repeated Israeli orders to evacuate 22 hospitals treating over 2,000 patients in Northern Gaza. The WHO expressed that the forced evacuation of patients and healthcare workers would exacerbate the ongoing humanitarian crisis and public health challenges.
Moving patients to southern Gaza, where healthcare facilities are already operating at maximum capacity and unable to accommodate the significant influx of patients, could effectively be a death sentence, the WHO asserted.
The organization emphasized that the lives of many seriously ill patients and those in fragile conditions are now “hanging in the balance.” This includes patients in intensive care units, those reliant on life-support devices, newborns in incubators, individuals undergoing kidney dialysis, and women facing pregnancy complications.
According to the WHO, these individuals all face imminent deterioration or death if they are compelled to move and cut off from life-saving medical care during the evacuation.
The healthcare workers in Northern Gaza are now facing a painful choice between abandoning critically ill patients or jeopardizing their own lives by attempting to transfer them to hospitals in the south that lack the capacity to receive them.
The WHO strongly underlined that healthcare workers should never be forced into making such impossible choices.
The death toll in Gaza as a result of Israeli airstrikes has risen to 2,329, including 724 children and 458 women. Additionally, over 9,000 individuals have sustained various injuries, among them 2,450 children and 1,536 women.