source : www.aljazeera.com
Gaza’s health ministry has struggled to update casualty figures as Israeli forces have increasingly targeted hospitals and allied services in the besieged enclave.
The United Nations has confirmed that the “collapse of services and communications” in hospitals in northern Gaza is seriously hampering health officials.
When was the last time we received an update: how has the ministry dealt with its figures so far, and how dire is the situation of the hospitals in Gaza?
When was the last update?
On Sunday, the government media office in Gaza updated casualty figures after a two-day hiatus. It raised the death toll to 11,100, including more than 8,000 children and women. The last official update came on November 10 at 2:00 PM (12:00 GMT).
“Due to the attacks on hospitals and the prevention of bodies or injured people from entering, the Ministry of Health was unable on Saturday to provide accurate statistics on the number of deaths and injuries in recent hours,” the media agency said. said in a statement.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has been providing daily updates since the start of the war following the surprise Hamas attack in Israel that killed around 1,200 people.
Last week, Barbara Leaf, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, told a House panel that the number of deaths in Gaza – home to 2.3 million people – is likely “higher than quoted.” .
The UN aid agency confirmed in its latest update on Saturday that a communications breakdown had prevented new figures from arriving.
Nearly 3,000 Palestinians remain missing and may be trapped or dead under the rubble, while another 27,490 Palestinians are reported to have been injured, the Health Ministry said on Friday.
How does the system work?
The Health Ministry had previously explained its methodology for collecting data on Palestinian victims.
Once a victim arriving at the emergency department of a government hospital is identified, his details, including ID number and personal information, along with the time of arrival, are recorded in the hospital’s computerized information system.
Each hospital also records the deaths of those injured who spent a period of time in hospital before their death.
The daily information on the dead Palestinians is transferred from the decentralized hospital system to the central database of a government registry.
Non-government hospitals use their own forms to record details of the victim as they arrive. These forms are then sent to the Health Information Center of the Ministry of Health within 24 hours so that they can be included in the central database.
The ministry processes the data, verifies its completeness and ensures that no duplicates or errors occur after the transfer is completed.
The ministry’s information center prepares daily reports, which are sent to the government-run Health Emergency Operations Center for approval and distribution.
How bad are hospitals in Gaza?
Israeli airstrikes have hit areas in and surrounding hospitals and medical centers in Gaza with devastating consequences since the start of the war, based on a claim disputed by both Palestinians and international medical NGOs that Hamas is operating in those areas. Israel has not provided any evidence to support its claims.
But as Israel’s ground offensive in northern Gaza has progressed, its forces have also increasingly focused on hospitals, and in recent days their targeting has increased sharply.
Israeli tanks have surrounded al-Shifa hospital, the largest facility in Gaza, and snipers and drones are shooting at people everywhere.
A surgeon at the hospital told Al Jazeera on Sunday that an engineer trying to fix a power outage at the hospital was shot and paralyzed by a drone. He said he witnessed a family being shot at and wounded as they tried to leave through an exit the Israeli military had said civilians could take.
“We can hardly treat the patients in the hospital and we are in the middle of the war zone. There are constant air strikes and the drones are hovering within the hospital area,” said Dr Ahmad Mokhallalati.
The facility’s director, Mohammed Abu Salmiya, told Al Jazeera on Saturday that two premature babies have died after an electricity outage in the neonatal intensive care unit, and another 37 babies are at risk of imminent death.
There are reports that some of those who fled the hospital were shot, injured or killed.
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) November 12, 2023
On Sunday, the Palestinian Red Crescent said Al-Quds Hospital was no longer operational due to fuel shortages and a power outage.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said early on Sunday that it had lost communication with its contacts at the hospital and confirmed it had received reports of people who had died while trying to flee.
Is it safe anywhere?
For weeks, the UN and international rights groups have warned that Palestinians in Gaza, especially the most vulnerable, have no safe place to turn.
@PalestineRCS announces that Al-Quds Hospital is out of service and no longer operational.
🚨✋The discontinuation of services is due to running out of available fuel and a power outage.
🛑 PRCS holds the international community and the signatories of the Fourth Geneva Convention accountable… pic.twitter.com/SPg69Zv7GH
— PRCS (@PalestinaRCS) November 12, 2023
UN shelters have also not been spared, with the organization saying on Friday that 66 internally displaced persons have been killed and 588 injured while staying in UN shelters.
“Hundreds of thousands of people left behind in the north are struggling to obtain the essentials of life. Consumption of water from unsafe sources raises serious concerns about dehydration and water-borne diseases,” the UN said.
It noted that hospitals are explicitly entitled to specific protection under international humanitarian law.
source : www.aljazeera.com