9,000 patients 'need emergency evacuation' from Gaza, WHO says, as number of functioning hospitals reduces

9,000 patients 'need emergency evacuation' from Gaza, WHO says, as number of functioning hospitals reduces
Thousands of patients suffering from cancer, kidney disease as well as other chronic illnesses, desperately need to be evacuated from Gaza.
2 min read
The WHO has urged Israel to allow evacuations for hospital patients from Gaza [Getty/file photo]

Some 9,000 patients in the Gaza Strip require evacuation for emergency care, with the war-torn Palestinian territory down to just 10 barely functioning hospitals, the head of the WHO said Saturday.

"With only 10 hospitals minimally functional across the whole of #Gaza, thousands of patients continue to be deprived of health care," World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on X.

Before the war, Gaza had 36 hospitals, according to the WHO.

"Around 9,000 patients urgently need to be evacuated abroad for lifesaving health services, including treatment for cancer, injuries from bombardments, kidney dialysis and other chronic conditions," he said.

That is up from 8,000 in the WHO's previous assessment at the beginning of March.

Israel has waged an indiscriminate war on the Gaza Strip since October 7, killing at least 32,705 Palestinians as of Saturday, mostly women and children. Israel's military assault has often targeted Gaza's hospitals, which are also providing refuge for thousands of people who have lost their homes or fled the fighting.

Gaza is subject to an almost complete siege, and NGOs and the United Nations accuse Israel of preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid needed by the 2.4 million inhabitants who are mostly massed in Rafah at the territory's southern tip.

Tedros said that "so far, over 3,400 patients have been referred abroad through Rafah, including 2,198 wounded and 1,215 ill. But many more need to be evacuated.

"We urge Israel to speed up approvals for evacuations, so that critical patients can be treated. Every moment matters."

Before the war, 50 to 100 patients a day were transferred to East Jerusalem or the West Bank, half of them for cancer treatment.