Over 45% of children in Gaza face death, epidemics

As healthcare in Gaza collapses, children are facing more than just death by Israeli strikes and bombings

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GENEVA — More than 45 percent of the roughly 2.3 million people living in the Gaza Strip are children, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on Saturday, with many not only at risk of death from bombs and missiles but also to epidemics and infectious diseases as Gaza’s healthcare collapses. اضافة اعلان

The organization stated that given the record numbers and overcrowding of displaced people, this has led to a lack of clean drinking water, inadequate sanitation, and malnutrition, which the group says will “certainly lead to a public health disaster.”

The organization further added that shelters have hit record-high rates of infectious diseases like diarrhea, acute respiratory and skin infections, and hygiene-related diseases due to overcrowding, unhygienic conditions, and a lack of toilets and sanitation services. Amid growing concern, Euro-Med Monitor highlights the plight of vulnerable individuals enduring harsh shelter conditions in Gaza. A fuel shortage compounds the crisis, leading to the closure of water desalination and sewage plants. This exacerbates the risk of bacterial infections, with polluted drinking water spreading diseases like dysentery, typhoid, and polio.

Euro-Med Monitor points out that the Israeli government, as part of its ongoing actions, has severed fuel, electricity, and water supply to Gaza, aggravating the already dire situation. Over 96 percent of water resources in the Strip were deemed "unfit for human consumption" before the current violence.

Waste buildup in residential areas poses a significant health and environmental threat due to challenges faced by municipal crews, compounded by the fuel crisis and Israeli raids. The inability to access main landfills on the Gaza Strip’s border further escalates the situation, potentially leading to a health and environmental catastrophe.

Testimonies from healthcare professionals and international relief organizations indicate a surge in respiratory infections, surpassing the monthly average under normal circumstances. The shortage of cooking gas, a consequence of the Israeli siege, forces reliance on unsafe alternatives, doubling the risk of respiratory diseases.

Chickenpox, skin rashes, and scabies
Euro-Med Monitor reports more than 50 severe diarrhea cases in November, with children under five accounting for half. Given the malnourishment and poor health in Gaza, violent diarrhea can be fatal. An unprecedented outbreak of inflammatory skin diseases includes over 5,000 cases of chickenpox, 18,800 skin rashes, and 10,000 cases of scabies.

Hepatitis C
Hepatitis C cases have been confirmed, but the exact spread remains unclear due to the inability to conduct necessary medical tests locally. Euro-Med Monitor highlights the doubled risk of infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics, coupled with malnourishment, shortage of medical supplies, and a collapsing health system.

The organization emphasizes the urgent need for a ceasefire and the lifting of Israel's siege, deemed a war crime, to protect civilians in Gaza under international humanitarian law. Vaccinations for Gazan children, limited to 10 percent, urgently require international intervention. Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor urges global action to save lives and halt the collective punishment imposed on Gaza's civilians.