Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are only taking emergency cases due to fears of fuel shortages. The UN facilities are also overwhelmed by 600,000 displaced Palestinians seeking shelter, four times their capacity. The Hamas-run Health Ministry reports that over 700 people have been killed by Israeli air strikes for a second day in a row.
Israel’s military claims it is targeting Hamas fighters and infrastructure. Israel is blocking new fuel deliveries to Gaza, accusing Hamas of stockpiling hundreds of thousands of liters of diesel and refusing to share it. Hospitals across the territory shut down all departments except for their emergency rooms on Wednesday to conserve fuel needed to power life-saving equipment.
The World Health Organization’s representative, Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, earlier told the BBC that hospitals supported by the UN agency were running generators “at minimum levels only for life-saving operations.” Israel stopped supplying electricity to Gaza following Hamas’s attacks, leaving the territory dependent on back-up generators after its sole power station ran out of fuel on October 11.
Aid agencies and medics inside Gaza warn that more people will die if key equipment stalls without electricity. UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, will have to halt all its operations in Gaza if it does not get more supplies of fuel. International calls for increased humanitarian access to Gaza have been growing louder, with 1.4 million people struggling to find food, clean water, and shelter. At least 60 aid lorries have entered Gaza from Egypt since the weekend, but this provides only a fraction of the needs of people in Gaza.