UNITED NATIONS, Nov 10 (Reuters) – A child is killed on average every 10 minutes in the Gaza Strip, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the United Nations Security Council on Friday United, warning: “Nowhere and no one is safe.” “.
He said half of Gaza’s 36 hospitals and two-thirds of its primary health care centers were not functioning and those that were operating were well beyond capacity, describing the health system as being “on its knees.” “.
“Hospital corridors filled with the injured, the sick, the dying. Overflowing morgues. Surgeries without anesthesia. Tens of thousands of displaced people housed in hospitals,” Tedros told the 15-member council.
Israel has vowed to eliminate Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, after an October 7 attack in southern Israel in which it said the militants killed about 1,200 people and took more than 240 hostages. Israel struck Gaza – an enclave of 2.3 million people – from the air, imposed a siege and launched a ground invasion.
“On average, a child is killed every 10 minutes in Gaza,” Tedros said.
Since October 7, the WHO has verified more than 250 attacks on health care in Gaza and the West Bank, while there have been 25 attacks on health care in Israel, Tedros said. Israel claims Hamas hides weapons in tunnels under hospitals, which Hamas denies.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan told the Security Council that Israel had created a task force to establish hospitals in southern Gaza. On October 12, Israel ordered some 1.1 million people in Gaza to move south ahead of its ground invasion.
“Israel is in advanced talks with the UAE, with the ICRC and with other European countries regarding the establishment of field hospitals and floating hospital ships,” Erdan said. “Israel facilitated the Jordanian airdrop of medical aid to hospitals in northern Gaza.”
“Unfortunately, Israel does much more for the well-being of the people of Gaza than the WHO or any other UN agency,” he said.
The United States is working to get fuel to hospitals in Gaza, US Deputy Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood said, stressing that civilian and humanitarian facilities must be respected and protected in under international law.
Wood said Hamas was using civilians as human shields.
“These cowardly tactics in no way diminish Israel’s responsibility to distinguish between civilians and terrorists in its fight against Hamas,” he said. “The risks of harm to civilians at sites that Hamas uses for military purposes must absolutely be taken into account when planning an operation.”
The Security Council observed a minute of silence at the start of the meeting to pay tribute to the civilians killed in Israel and Gaza, as well as the 101 people working for the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA).
Tedros remembers growing up during the war in Ethiopia, saying he understood what the children of Gaza had to go through.
“The sound of gunshots and shells whistling through the air, the smell of smoke after they hit, the tracer bullets in the night sky, the fear, the pain, the loss – these things stayed with me my whole life,” he said.
Reporting by Michelle Nichols, editing by Rosalba O’Brien
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.