Gaza’s main hospital is no longer functioning, according to the World Health Organization, which has warned of a “disastrous and perilous” situation for hundreds of patients and displaced people trapped inside as Israeli troops are fighting Hamas fighters nearby.
Al-Shifa Hospital and other medical centers in Gaza City had been struggling for weeks to maintain operations as supplies of fuel and medicine dwindled. In recent days, Israeli tanks and troops have closed in on Al-Shifa and close-quarters fighting has raged nearby. Patients are dying due to lack of electricity, according to doctors and health officials in Gaza.
The World Health Organization said Sunday that three days “without electricity, water and very poor internet connection” had seriously damaged Al-Shifa’s ability to provide care. He cited constant shooting and shelling in the region and said the number of patient deaths had increased significantly.
“Unfortunately, the hospital no longer functions as a hospital,” the agency’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a statement.
Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry said at least six injured patients died in hospital Saturday following a power outage, including two premature babies. Without fuel to run the generators, the hospital is plunged into darkness, the ministry and hospital administrator said.
Israeli security officials say Hamas has built a vast command complex beneath the hospital, making it a legitimate military target. Hamas denied the allegationsas did Al-Shifa director Dr. Mohammed Abu Salmiya, who called them “fake.”
In recent days, Israeli soldiers have surrounded at least one other hospital in northern Gaza, intensifying efforts to empty the facilities, according to Israeli military officials, as fighting around them intensifies.