‘Absolute chaos and absolute misery’ at Shifa Hospital, WHO official tells DW

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Sean Casey, the World Health Organization (WHO) emergency team coordinator, spoke to DW from Rafah in Gaza about conditions at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

He said he’d seen “hundreds of patients streaming in pretty constantly” during his visits last week.

“Patients being rolled in on stretchers along the street. Patients being carried in by their family members, being brought in on donkey carts, and even on trolleys. Hundreds of patients on gurneys, on the floor. Family members desperately crying out for assistance and a very, very small team of doctors and nurses,” he said. “Only five or six doctors, five or six nurses and some volunteers from the community, some paramedics, medical students, nursing students — trying to care for these patients.”

“It’s absolute chaos and absolute misery,” Casey said.

Casey was told that as many as 50,000 displaced persons were trying to shelter in or around the hospital building, in the hope that it might be safer from bombardment.

“There’s no safe place in Gaza, not anywhere in Gaza at the moment. But it’s considered one of the safest options,” he said.

The crowding, the lack of shelters and sanitation, and shortages of safe drinking water and food led to “serious concerns” about the risks of disease, he said.

The WHO, the UN’s health authority, conducted fact-finding missions to Gaza’s barely functioning hospitals over the weekend.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanaom Ghebreyesus called for urgent attempts to provide more food and potable water to Shifa Hospital, saying “relentless hostilities and massive numbers of wounded people have brought its capacities to its knees.”

Courtesy of DW