Wednesday 26 November 2014

WHO seeks humanitarian corridor to evacuate Gaza wounded

Published 25/07/2014 | 13:10

Palestinians taking refuge from an Israeli ground invasion and air strikes sleep at a United Nations school in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip, July 25, 2014. Gazan authorities said Israeli forces shelled a shelter at a U.N.-run school on Thursday, killing at least 15 people, as the Palestinian death toll in the conflict reached 796 and attempts at a truce remained elusive. The Israeli military said it was investigating the school incident. Israeli forces are trying to stop militants from Hamas and their allies from firing rockets into its territory. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed regional proxies to nail down a Gaza ceasefire on Friday as the civilian death toll soared, threatening to spread Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed to the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (GAZA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CIVIL UNREST)
Palestinians taking refuge from an Israeli ground invasion and air strikes sleep at a United Nations school in Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip. Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly

The World Health Organisation (WHO) called today for a humanitarian corridor to be set up in Gaza to allow aid workers to evacuate the wounded and bring in life-saving medicines.

WHO officials have discussed the proposal with both Israeli and Egyptian officials, but there has been no response yet, WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed regional proxies to agree on a Gaza ceasefire on Friday as the death toll soared to over 800. At least 4,500 people have been injured, the WHO said.

In a statement, the U.N. health agency said that it was difficult for the sick and wounded to get access to health care and that some needed to leave the coastal strip for treatment.

Four hospitals have been damaged since July 8 when Israel launched air strikes on Gaza, the WHO said, including al Aqsa hospital, the main hospital for central Gaza which came under direct fire on Monday.

"WHO calls for the creation of a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of the injured, as well as for the supply of life-saving medicines. The humanitarian corridor should extend to protect the safe passage of patients to access crossing points and exit outside the Gaza Strip for medical care."

A shipment of WHO medical supplies, enough to treat some 400-500 people, was expected to arrive from Amman, Garwood said, noting that nearly 600 people were injured yesterday alone.

"People are dying at an alarming rate, being injured at a very alarming rate," Jens Laerke of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

"We are calling for these localised ceasefires whereby the wounded can be evacuated and we can access people with both health care and other kinds of relief."

Reuters

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