‘Violence must end now,’ says regional directors of UN Population Fund, UNICEF, WHO
The regional directors of UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UNICEF and WHO on Sunday called for an “urgent international action” to end attacks against hospitals in Gaza.
The call came in a joint statement from Laila Baker of UNFPA Arab States, Adele Khodr of UNICEF Middle East and North Africa and Ahmed Al-Mandhari of WHO Eastern Mediterranean.
“The world cannot stand silent while hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair,” the UN officials stressed.
“Decisive international action is needed now to secure an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and prevent further loss of life, and preserve what’s left of the health care system in Gaza,” they said, adding: “Unimpeded, safe and sustained access is needed now to provide fuel, medical supplies and water for these lifesaving services.”
“The violence must end now,” they said.
Citing WHO figures, they noted that at least 137 attacks on health care in Gaza have been recorded over the past 36 days, resulting in 521 deaths and 686 injuries, including 16 deaths and 38 injuries of health workers on duty.
“We are horrified at the latest reports of attacks on and in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital, Al-Rantissi Naser Paediatric Hospital, Al-Quds Hospital, and others in Gaza city and northern Gaza, killing many, including children,” they said.
The officials added that intense hostilities surrounding several hospitals in northern Gaza are preventing safe access for health staff, the injured, and other patients.
Attacks on medical facilities and civilians are “unacceptable and are a violation of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law and Conventions,” they said and added: “They cannot be condoned.”
Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip — including hospitals, residences, and houses of worship — since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Oct. 7.
The number of deaths in the ongoing Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7 has surpassed the grim figure of 11,100, including more than 8,000 children and women, the government media office in Gaza said on Sunday.
The Israeli death toll is nearly 1,200, according to official figures.