A child is killed every 10 minutes in Gaza, says WHO chief
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, warning: "Nowhere and no one is safe."
He said that half of Gaza's 36 hospitals and two-thirds of its primary healthcare centres were not functioning and those that were operating were way beyond their capacities, describing the healthcare system as being "on its knees".
"Hospital corridors crammed with the injured, the sick, the dying. Morgues overflowing. Surgery without anesthesia. Tens of thousands of displaced people sheltering at hospitals," Tedros told the 15-member council.
Israel launched a relentless military campaign on the Gaza Strip on 7 October, killing over 11,000 Palestinians, including 4,506 children, 3,027 women, and 678 elderly people, and wounding over 27,490.
Israeli forces also imposed a siege on the enclave of 2.3 million people, stopping the entry of much-needed medical supplies, fuel, water and food.
"On average, a child is killed every 10 minutes in Gaza," Tedros said.
Since 7 October, the WHO has verified more than 250 attacks on healthcare in Gaza and the West Bank, Tedros said.
The United States is working to try and get fuel to hospitals in Gaza, said deputy US Ambassador to the UN Robert Wood, stressing that civilian and humanitarian facilities must be respected and protected under international law.
The Security Council stood for a moment of silence at the start of the meeting to remember civilians killed in Gaza, which included over 100 people working with the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA).
Tedros recalled growing up during the war in Ethiopia, saying he understood what the children of Gaza must be going through.
"The sound of gunfire and shells whistling through the air, the smell of smoke after they struck, tracer bullets in the night sky, the fear, the pain, the loss – these things have stayed with me throughout my life," he said.
Reuters and The New Arab.