UN shelters in Gaza run out of water as doctors fear patients are in ‘high danger’ as Israeli ground offensive looms

KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — U.N. shelters across Gaza have run out of water as thousands of people crowded into the courtyard of the besieged territory’s largest hospital as a last-resort shelter in the face of an imminent Israeli ground offensive. and overwhelmed doctors struggled to care for fearful patients. They die once the generators run out of fuel.

Palestinian civilians across Gaza, already battered by years of conflict, were struggling Sunday to survive an unprecedented Israeli operation against the territory following a Hamas militant attack on Oct. 7 that killed 1,300 Israelis, most of them civilians. .

Israel has cut off the flow of food, medicine, water and electricity to Gaza, targeted neighborhoods with airstrikes and told the north’s estimated 1 million residents to flee south ahead of Israel’s planned attack. Gaza’s Health Ministry said more than 2,300 Palestinians have been killed since fighting began last weekend.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday that Israeli officials told him they had reopened the water supply in southern Gaza. Israel’s Energy and Water Minister Israel Katz said in a statement that water had been restored to a “specific point” in Gaza, but gave no further details. Aid workers in Gaza said they had not yet seen evidence that water had returned and a Gaza government spokesman said it was not flowing.

Relief groups called for the protection of more than 2 million civilians in Gaza and urged the establishment of an emergency corridor for the transfer of humanitarian aid.

A Palestinian child receives medical treatment at Al Aqsa hospital in the Gaza Strip on October 15.AP

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“The difference with this escalation is that we have no medical help coming from outside, the border is closed, the electricity is cut off and this constitutes a great danger for our patients,” said Dr. Mohammed Qandeel, who works at Nasser Hospital in the southern area of ​​Khan Yunis.

Doctors in the evacuation zone said they could not safely relocate their patients, so they decided to stay to care for them as well.

“We will not evacuate the hospital even if it costs us our lives,” said Dr. Hussam Abu Safiya, head of pediatrics at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahia.

If they left, all seven newborns in the intensive care unit would die, he said. And even if they could move them, they have nowhere to go in the 40-kilometer-long coastal territory. “The hospitals are full,” Abu Safiya said. The injured arrive every day with amputated limbs and life-threatening injuries, he said.

Debris seen after Israeli airstrikes in Deir el-Balah, Gaza.AP

Other doctors feared for the lives of patients who depended on ventilators and those suffering from complex blast injuries who needed round-the-clock care. Doctors feared that entire hospital facilities would be shut down and many would die as the last reserves of fuel to power their generators were about to run out. United Nations humanitarian observers estimated this could happen on Monday.

At Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, the heart of the evacuation zone, medical officials estimated that there were at least 35,000 men, women and children crammed into the large open grounds, in the lobby and in the hallways, hoping that the place offered them protection against combat. . “Their situation is very difficult,” said hospital director Mohammed Abu Selmia.

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Hundreds of injured people continue to arrive at the hospital every day, he said.

Palestinian children look at a building destroyed in an airstrike.AP

About half a million Gaza residents have taken refuge in U.N. shelters across the territory and are running out of water, said Juliette Touma, spokeswoman for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, known by the acronym UNRWA. “Gaza is drying up,” she said, adding that U.N. teams have also begun rationing water.

Touma said a quarter of a million people in Gaza have moved into shelters in the past 24 hours, most of which are U.N. schools where “drinking water has run out,” said Inas Hamdan, another spokeswoman. of UNRWA.

Across Gaza, families rationed dwindling water supplies and many were forced to drink dirty or brackish water.

“I’m so happy I was able to brush my teeth today, can you imagine how far we’ve come?” said Shaima al-Farra, in Khan Younis.

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Source: vtt.edu.vn

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