More people could die from disease than from bombings in the Gaza Strip if its health system is not repaired, a World Health Organization spokesperson said on Tuesday, warning of a surge in infectious diseases and diarrhoea in children.
In figures deemed reliable by the United Nations, Gaza health authorities say more than 15,000 people have been confirmed killed in Israel’s bombardment of the narrow enclave, around 40% of them children, with many more feared to be lost under rubble.
Israel has sworn to eradicate Hamas, the group that rules Gaza, after its gunmen burst through the border, killing around 1,200 people and seizing 240 captives on Oct. 7.
“Eventually, we will see more people dying from the disease than we are even seeing from the bombardment if we are not able to put back (together) this health system,” said the WHO’s Margaret Harris at a UN briefing in Geneva.
She repeated concerns about a rise in outbreaks of infectious diseases, particularly diarrhoea in children, with cases for those aged five and older surging to more than 100 times normal levels by early November.
“Everybody everywhere has dire health needs now because they’re starving because they lack clean water and (they’re) crowded together,” she said.