Gaza's devastated Al-Shifa hospital reestablishes some services: WHO

GENEVA: Gaza's largest hospital, which has been hard-hit by Israel's war against Hamas, has partially reestablish services, the World Health Organisation said Friday after reaching the facility for the first time in over two weeks.

The UN health agency said it and partners had reached the Al-Shifa hospital in the north of the Gaza Strip on Thursday, delivering desperately-needed fuel and medical supplies.

"The team reported that Al-Shifa, previously Gaza's premier hospital, has (partially) reestablished services," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X, formerly Twitter.

The hospital, which WHO described as "a death zone" after it largely ceased operations following raids and occupation by Israeli troops in November, now has 60 medical staff, Tedros said.

It also has "a surgical and medical ward with 40 beds, an emergency department, four operating theatres, basic emergency obstetric and gynaecologic services".

There is a "limited haemodialysis unit, minimal laboratory services (and) basic radiology services", he added.

The WHO-led convoy to the hospital on Thursday had delivered 9,300 litres (2,500 gallons) of fuel and medical supplies to cover 1,000 trauma and 100 kidney dialysis patients, according to his post.

The agency had been striving for more than two weeks to reach Al-Shifa and other hospitals in northern Gaza, and said earlier this week it had to cancel six planned missions there due to lacking security.

Hospitals, protected under international humanitarian law, have repeatedly been hit by Israeli strikes in Gaza since the war erupted.

The Israeli military accuses Hamas of having tunnels under hospitals and using the medical facilities as command centres, a charge denied by the Islamist group.

The war began when Hamas launched its October 7 attack, which resulted in about 1,140 people killed in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Fighters also took around 250 hostages, 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza, including at least 25 believed to have been killed.

Israel responded with a relentless military campaign that the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza says has killed at least 23,469 people, mostly women and children.

WHO said this week that only 15 of Gaza's 36 hospitals are even partially functioning, most of them in the south.

The agency has long described desperate scenes in the few barely functioning hospitals remaining in the north, facing severe shortages of food, clean water, medicines and fuel.

While the partial resumption of services at Al-Shifa was good news, Tedros emphasised that it meant "the consumption of fuel is much higher, and the need for medical supplies is increasing". -- AFP

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