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WHO evacuates 32 critical patients from besieged hospital in southern Gaza

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Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that it has transferred 32 critical patients, including two children, from the Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza in two life-saving missions in the past two days.

An estimated 130 sick and injured patients and at least 15 health workers remained inside the hospital, WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told a press briefing in Geneva.

The WHO voiced concerns over their safety and well-being and warned that further disruption to lifesaving care for the sick and injured would lead to more deaths.

The Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis has ceased to function following Israel’s military raid on Feb. 14, after a week-long siege, said the UN health agency.

The Nasser Hospital had no electricity or running water, and medical waste and garbage were creating a breeding ground for disease, said the WHO. Describing the situation there as “heartbreaking”, WHO staff Chris Black said that the hospital was surrounded by burnt and destroyed buildings, and heavy layers of debris, with no stretch of intact road.

The dismantling and degradation of the Nasser Hospital was a massive blow to Gaza’s health system, said the agency. Other facilities in the south have been already operating well beyond maximum capacity and were barely able to receive more patients, it added.

Jasarevic said the WHO hoped to see the Nasser Hospital and other health facilities in Gaza protected, rebuilt, and properly supplied. This could only be achieved if there was a ceasefire and unimpeded access to health workers, patients, and humanitarians, he added.

The WHO repeated its calls for the protection of patients, health workers, health infrastructure and civilians.

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