WHO head urges Israel to lift restrictions on aid into Gaza

<p>World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus<em> (Anadolu photo)</em></p>

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Anadolu photo)

GENEVA – Head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Tuesday asked Israel to lift blockade on medical supplies into Gaza, saying around 700 seriously ill patients are stuck in a war zone.

"Crossings from Egypt into Gaza have remained closed for two weeks, cutting off the primary pipeline for emergency health supplies into Gaza," the WHO director-general told a press briefing in Geneva.

Tedros described the situation in Gaza as "beyond catastrophic," adding that intense hostilities near Gaza's hospitals have compromised their ability to provide medical care and made it harder for patients to reach.

As there are only two functional hospitals remaining in northern Gaza, the WHO chief said it is imperative to ensure their ability to deliver health services.

However, he also lamented that the UN's health agency cannot sustain its lifesaving support to hospitals and the population without more aid flowing into Gaza.

The WHO and its partners have managed to deliver small amounts of fuel to hospitals in recent days, but this falls far short of the large quantity of fuel that is needed each day for health operations. (Xinhua)