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WHO: ô21 medics killed, 31 wounded due to the ongoing Israeli offensive

Saed Bannoura - IMEM

Thursday January 08, 2009

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Thursday that basic medical services in Gaza are collapsing as Israel continues its siege and offensive in the Gaza Strip. 21 medics were killed by Israeli shells and bullets and at least 31 others were wounded.

According to information obtained by the WHO, the ongoing Israeli air strikes, shelling and ground offensive have limited the movement of the patients and the medics to a serious level that blocked medical services and the delivery of medical supplies.

The organization stated that 21 medical personnel were killed in the Gaza Strip and that thirty other were wounded as the army did not only shell ambulances but also shelled hospitals in medical centers. The army also shelled at least eleven ambulances.

The WHO added that the number of medial governmental facilities that are still running in the Gaza Strip is 29 out of 56 centers and medical facilities.

The WHO statements focused on the following main points;

1. Gaza Strip needs urgent supplies of life-saving equipment to treat the increasing number of wounded residents.

2. Due to the ongoing bombardment and ground offensive, the movement of the patients and medical personnel is limited; evacuation of critically injured residents to hospitals outside of the Gaza Strip is prevented by Israel.

3. Hospitals in Gaza do not have enough beds in emergency rooms and admissions. Hospitals are using make-shift trauma and intensive care units and even those beds are nearing exhaustion of capacity. "There have been reports of injured people lying on the ground in health facilities".

4. Health workers are working around the clock since Israel started bombarding Gaza on December 27. They are very exhausted and need urgent replacements to be able to provide live-saving services to the critically injured residents.

5. Power failures are affecting the medical services, hospitals have to use generators, including some hospitals that use generators around the clock, main supplies are cut, medical supplies are running out, power failures have negative effects on infection control, blood transfusion, instruments used for sterilization, basic sanitation and hygiene in hospitals, operating theatres and intensive care units. The hospitals are also expecting a dangerous increase of life-threatening hospital-borne infections "such as gangrene, septicemia, tetanus, etc.) and complications (such as shock) can also be expected". The statement reads.





:: Article nr. 50561 sent on 09-jan-2008 00:50 ECT

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