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WHO warns of risk of disease spreading in Gaza amid continuing siege, conflict

Anadolu Agency HEALTH
Published November 08,2023

The UN health agency on Wednesday sounded the alarm bell on the risk of rampant disease in Gaza amid Israel's siege and continuing attacks.

"As deaths and injuries in Gaza continue to rise due to intensified hostilities, intense overcrowding and disrupted health, water, and sanitation systems pose an added danger: the rapid spread of infectious diseases," the World Health Organization wrote on X.

Worrying trends are already emerging, it noted, including diarrhea, "as people consume contaminated water."

"The situation is particularly concerning for almost 1.5 million displaced people across Gaza, especially those living in severely overcrowded shelters with poor access to hygiene facilities and safe water, increasing risk of infectious diseases transmission," the WHO also said.

The agency pointed to over 33,000 cases of diarrhea, over 54,800 cases of upper respiratory infections, and thousands of other cases of disease since mid-October.

"Disrupted routine vaccination activities, as well as lack of medicines for treating communicable diseases, further increase the risk of accelerated disease spread," the WHO also warned, adding that basic infection prevention has become impossible in health facilities amid the siege and conflict.

"WHO calls for urgent, accelerated access for humanitarian aid-including fuel, water, food, and medical supplies-into and throughout the Gaza Strip," the agency said, calling on all warring parties to "abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including health care."