Israel’s evacuation order for Gaza amounts to a “death sentence” for vulnerable hospital patients, the World Health Organization has warned.
WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said health authorities in Gaza have advised that it is impossible to evacuate vulnerable hospital patients within 24 hours as ordered by Israel’s military.
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“There are severely ill people whose injuries mean their only chances of survival is being on life support, such as mechanical ventilators,” Jasarevic said on Thursday.
“So moving those people is a death sentence. Asking health workers to do so is beyond cruel.”
Israel’s military on Thursday ordered 1.1 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza to move south within 24 hours ahead of an expected ground offensive on the enclave.
The United Nations has warned that the relocation of so many people is “impossible” and could have devastating consequences.
The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell has described Israel’s directive as “utterly unrealistic”.
Hamas, which runs the Gaza Stip, has told residents to ignore Israel’s order, describing it as “fake propaganda”.
The WHO has already warned that hospitals in Gaza are at “breaking point” and called for a humanitarian corridor to allow in health workers and facilitate the evacuation of the sick and injured.
Jasarevic said that hospitals have only a few hours of electricity each day and are being forced to rely on generators to power critical functions, with patients in intensive care units and newborns among the most vulnerable.
“Time is running out to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe, if fuel, water, food and life-saving health and humanitarian supplies cannot be urgently delivered to the Gaza Strip amidst the complete blockage,” he said.