A joint United Nations (UN) humanitarian assessment team led by the World Health Organization (WHO) labeled Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital as a “death zone” when it was let in to vet Israel’s claims that the hospital was being used as a base for militant group Hamas.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said last week that its forces were carrying out an operation inside al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza. Israel released a video of what appears to be weapons and military capabilities inside the hospital, claiming that it was evidence that Hamas was operating inside the hospital.
WHO said it sent a joint team with the U.N. to the hospital on Saturday to “assess the situation on the ground, conduct a rapid situational analysis, assess medical priorities and establish logistics options for further missions.” The team, who spent one hour inside the hospital, described the hospital as a “death zone” and the situation as “desperate.”
The UN-WHO team said they saw a mass grave with more than 80 people buried there at the hospital.
“Lack of clean water, fuel, medicines, food and other essential aid over the last 6 weeks have caused Al-Shifa Hospital – once the largest, most advanced and best equipped referral hospital in Gaza – to essentially stop functioning as a medical facility.” WHO stated in a press release. “The team observed that due to the security situation, it has been impossible for the staff to carry out effective waste management in the hospital.”
WHO said that there are 24 health workers and 291 patients at the hospital, including 32 babies in critical condition, two people in intensive care without ventilation and 22 patients with dialysis whose treatment has been “severely compromised.” It noted that the hospital is no longer operating and that there have been a number of patient deaths in the last two to three days.
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