The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for Al-Shifa Hospital in north Gaza, a cornerstone of Gaza’s health system, to be urgently restored so that it can serve “a besieged people trapped in a cycle of death, destruction, hunger, and disease”.
Currently, Al-Ahli Arab Hospital remains the only partially functional hospital in north Gaza, along with three minimally functional hospitals: Al-Shifa, Al Awda and Al Sahaba Medical Complex – down from 24 before the conflict.
“WHO is also gravely concerned at the unfolding situation at Kamal Adwan Hospital and is gathering information urgently.”
The WHO said it was committed to strengthening the Al-Shifa Hospital in the coming weeks, so that it can resume at least basic functionality and continue to provide lifesaving services that are desperately needed amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
Once the most important and largest referral hospital in Gaza, Al-Shifa now houses only a handful of doctors and a few nurses, together with 70 volunteers, working under what WHO staff described as “unbelievably challenging circumstances”.
WHO staff participated in a joint UN mission to Al-Shifa Hospital on Sunday to deliver health supplies and assess the situation in the facility.
According to the mission, the operating theatres and other major services remain non-functional due to lack of fuel, oxygen, specialised medical staff, and supplies.
On Tuesday, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Israel was ready for another humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip in order to free the remaining hostages, and has also agreed to allow the entry of additional humanitarian aid for the residents of the enclave.
Israel maintained its bombardment and ground combat on Tuesday in the third month of the bloodiest-ever Gaza war, which started when Hamas launched its attack on October 7.
Gaza’s health ministry said Israel’s military response had killed more than 19 600 people, mostly women and children.