The Israeli Defense Forces continue to pound Gaza to eradicate terrorists with ties to Hamas. Since launching Operation Iron Sword, Israel has killed more than 12,000 Palestinians. Millions more are trapped between the destruction of the IDF and the human shield Hamas uses to protect missile launch sites. As the war drags on, ordinary Palestinians face an even greater killer — a rampant disease common on battlefields.
Humanitarian aid organizations have limited access to Palestinians in Gaza.
Internet, phone networks collapse in Gaza, threatening to worsen humanitarian crisis https://t.co/qTsCiQif0A
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The World Health Organization claims hundreds of trucks per day are needed. WHO Secretary-General Antonio Guterrez says the situation in Gaza is “not a humanitarian crisis, it is a crisis of humanity.”
Warfare often creates ideal conditions for spreading diseases and the conflict in Gaza is no different. Humanitarian organizations report rapidly rising cases of diarrhea which is a leading killer of children worldwide. Diarrheal diseases frequently result from contaminated water.
Treatment for diarrhea involves fluids and electrolytes. As the conflict accelerates and humanitarian aid is unable to reach Palestinians, the ability to treat simple diseases like diarrhea are becoming more challenging. The WHO reports rising cases of lice and scabies that are associated with lack of cleanliness.
Other water-borne illnesses are also appearing. Cholera is highly infectious and is spread through contaminated water. It can cause death in a matter of hours if left untreated. One of the primary targets of the IDF has been hospitals in Gaza. Hamas is said to use hospitals, refugee camps, and schools to hide missile launchers and supplies for carrying out terrorist attacks.
Fourteen hospitals in Gaza are now completely non-functioning. The majority have no power or water or have been destroyed by the IDF. Around 22 hospitals remain but a lack of supplies limits the effectiveness of the facilities.
The WHO says that 95% of Palestinians in Gaza are without access to fresh water. Tens of thousands are huddled in refugee camps which lack the ability to care for the rising number of serious illnesses. Few foreign governments are accepting refugees from Gaza because of the difficulty in separating civilians from terrorists.
The Biden administration has joined humanitarian aid organizations in pushing Israel for temporary ceasefires and refugee corridors to help evacuate refugees from the war-torn northern Gaza region. Israel has agreed to some concessions but also defends its right to attack hospitals and refugee camps in use by Hamas to stage terrorist operations.