Sat 09 Dec 2023 6:03 pm - Jerusalem Time

Euro-Med: More than 45% of Gaza's children face a struggle with death due to epidemics

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor warned of the escalating risk of the Gaza Strip becoming a disaster area where epidemics and communicable diseases are spreading in a catastrophic and unprecedented manner in the modern history of humanity.

The Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement today, Saturday: 2.3 million people in the Gaza Strip, more than 45% of whom are children, are facing a struggle with death, not only with deadly bombs and missiles, but also with epidemics and infectious diseases, with a comprehensive health collapse with the aim of deepening the ongoing genocide for the third month.

He warned that the lack of clean drinking water, the lack of adequate sanitation, and malnutrition amid record crowding and overcrowding of displaced people constitute the formula that is studied about the conditions for the spread of epidemics and the risk of a public health disaster.

As the occupation continued its bloody attacks by air, land and sea for 63 days on all parts of the Gaza Strip, more than 1.8 million people were displaced to very crowded shelter centers in limited geographical areas.

Due to overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions, and lack of toilets and sanitation services, these shelter centers record high rates of infectious diseases and conditions such as diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, skin infections, and hygiene-related conditions, according to the statement.

The Observatory confirmed increasing concerns about vulnerable groups of people suffering from difficult shelter conditions, including people with disabilities. Women who are pregnant, have recently given birth, or are breastfeeding; People recovering from injuries or surgeries; And those who suffer from a weak immune system.

The fuel shortage, in light of the total power outage crisis, led to the closure of water desalination plants and sewage plants, which increased the risk of the spread of bacterial infection, as polluted drinking water transmits diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, and polio, according to the statement.

Since the start of its attacks, the Israeli occupation government has closed the pipes supplying Gaza with water and cut off electricity and fuel supplies, noting that more than 96% of the water resources in the Strip have been “unfit for human consumption” for many years.

In parallel, the risks of waste accumulation in residential neighborhoods are escalating, with severe difficulties faced by municipal crews, whether in collecting this waste - due to the Israeli raids and the fuel crisis - or prohibiting their access to the main landfills located on the border edges of the Gaza Strip - which produce two thousand tons daily - for the purpose of deporting the unions. It threatens to exacerbate a serious health hazard and environmental disaster.

According to testimonies from doctors, health officials and international relief organizations collected by the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory team, more than 20,000 cases linked to upper respiratory infections were documented during the first week of this month alone, knowing that the Gaza Strip records about two thousand cases linked to respiratory diseases of all kinds. Monthly in normal conditions.

The severe shortage of cooking gas due to the Israeli closure, according to Euro-Med, has also led to heavy reliance on less clean sources such as firewood, wood scraps, and burning waste, which doubles the risk of respiratory diseases.

During the month of November alone, more than 50 cases of violent diarrhea were recorded, about half of them in children younger than five years old, noting that violent diarrhea may cause death in light of the malnutrition and poor physical condition that the population suffers from, especially children.

In addition, an unprecedented outbreak of inflammatory skin diseases was recorded, including more than 5,000 cases of chicken pox, 18,800 cases of skin rashes, 10,000 cases of scabies, and tens of thousands of cases of severe influenza.

The Observatory said: While it was confirmed that cases of hepatitis were detected in various areas of the Gaza Strip, it was not possible to conduct the necessary medical tests in local hospitals and the need to send samples abroad still hinders knowing the severity of the spread of the disease and the exact number of infections.

The Euro-Mediterranean Observatory confirmed that in light of the risk of malnutrition, lack of medicines, and the collapse of the health system due to the majority of hospitals being out of service, the risk doubles due to the repercussions of the spread of epidemics and infectious diseases.

He pointed out the dangers of a shortage of infection control medications and materials required for sterilization and disinfection in local hospitals, and without medications, the health of patients, especially children, could deteriorate, leading to their death very quickly, especially with vaccines being limited to a small number of children, not exceeding 10%, for weeks.

The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor reiterated its emphasis on the urgent need for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and lifting the strict closure on it as a collective punishment and a war crime to save the lives of civilians protected under international humanitarian law.


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Euro-Med: More than 45% of Gaza's children face a struggle with death due to epidemics