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Gaza's healthcare system 'has reached point of no return': Red Cross

Palestinians wounded in a blast at Ahli Arab Hospital, react as they wait to be treated at the al-Shifa Hospital, in Gaza City, the Gaza Strip, on October 17, 2023. (Photo by AP)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that the healthcare system in the Gaza Strip, which has been under a hugely indiscriminate Israeli war for over a month now, has "reached a point of no return."

In a statement on Friday, the body described the coastal sliver's healthcare apparatus as "overstretched, running on thin supplies, and increasingly unsafe."

The overall situation, it added, was "risking the lives of thousands of wounded, sick, and displaced people."

More than 11,000 Palestinians, including 4,506 children, have been killed, and 27,490 others sustained injuries since October 7, when the occupying regime started the war against the coastal sliver in response to an operation staged by the territory's resistance groups.

During the war, the regime has been taking direct aim at hospitals, ambulances, and other healthcare targets under the pretext that they are used to either accommodate or transport members of Gaza's resistance groups.

Also on Friday, the head of the World Health Organization said the healthcare system in Gaza "is on its knees."

"The situation on the ground is impossible to describe. Hospital corridors are crammed with the injured, the sick, and the dying. Morgues overflowing. Surgery without anesthesia. Tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering at hospitals. Families crammed into overcrowded schools, desperate for food and water," he said.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, said 20 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals were no longer functioning, including a pediatric hospital that has stopped operations after a reported Israeli strike in the area.

Earlier on Friday, the regime pummeled Gaza's Shifa Hospital, which was housing nearly 80,000 people running from heavy ground battles and airstrikes.

Reports said at least three strikes laid into the facility over several hours, hitting its courtyard and obstetrics department.

Some of those fleeing the hospital said only a few hundred badly wounded patients and doctors had remained behind.

Marwan Jilani, director-general of the Palestine Red Crescent Society, meanwhile, said that the concern for civilian life had now shifted to the survivability of the sick and wounded.

"If no aid gets to the north of the Gaza Strip, we will soon see infants dying because their mothers cannot feed them," Jilani said. "Many people will starve and die of diseases."

The regime has also cut off the flow of basic supplies, such as water, electricity, medicines, and fuel, to one of the world's most densely populated territories that houses over two million Palestinians.

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