During a night of intense bombardment and ground incursions in Gaza, with reports of hostilities still continuing, health workers, patients and civilians have been subject to a total communication and electrical blackout.

WHO reiterates its calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, and reminds all parties to the conflict to take all precautions to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. This includes health workers, patients, health facilities and ambulances, and civilians who are sheltering in these facilities.  Active measures must be taken to ensure they are not harmed and safe passage provided for the movement of desperately needed medical supplies, fuel, water and food into and across Gaza.

Reports of bombardment near the Indonesia and Al Shifa hospitals are gravely concerning. WHO reiterates that it is impossible to evacuate patients without endangering their lives. Hospitals across Gaza are already operating at maximum capacity due to the injuries sustained in weeks of unrelenting bombardment, and are  unable to absorb a dramatic rise in the number of patients, while sheltering thousands of civilians.

Health workers who have stayed by their patients’ sides face dwindling supplies, with no place to put new patients, and no means to alleviate their patients’ pain. There are more wounded every hour. But ambulances cannot reach them in the communications blackout. Morgues are full. More than half of the dead are women and children.

WHO has not been able to communicate with its staff in Gaza, nor have other agencies. Furthermore, WHO is trying to gather information on the overall impact on civilians and health care.

WHO appeals to the humanity in all those who have the power to do so to end the fighting now, in line with the UN resolution adopted yesterday, calling for a humanitarian truce, as well as the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians held captive.

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