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Source: World Health Organization (WHO)
16 March 2008

Health Action in Crises - Highlights No. 199 – 10 to 16 Mar 2008

Each week, the World Health Organization Department for Health Action in Crises in Geneva produces information highlights on the health aspects of selected humanitarian crises. Drawing on the various WHO programmes, contributions cover activities from field and country offices and the support provided by WHO regional offices and Headquarters. The mandate of the WHO Departments specifically concerned with Emergency and Humanitarian Action in Crises is to increase the effectiveness of the WHO contribution to crisis preparedness and response, transition and recovery. This note, which is not exhaustive, is designed for internal use and does not reflect any official position of the WHO Secretariat.



Assessments and Events
- The intensification of the conflict during the past weeks exacerbated the already precarious humanitarian situation.

- The evacuation of some critically injured patients through Rafah has alleviated the strain on Gaza's hospitals. However, the ICRC reports that surgical facilities, particularly in the north, still deal with large number of wounded.

- Gaza continues to suffer from electricity blackouts that force hospitals to switch on their generators, while the supply of fuel remains precarious. Electric shortages also impede the supply of drinking water for about half a million residents. Raw, untreated sewage continues to be discharged into the sea at the rate of 20 000 m3 each day.

- WHO is monitoring the health situation, including the evacuation of medical cases through Rafah and Erez crossings, and the availability of fuel for emergency generators and vehicles.

- In the monthly health coordination meeting, WHO presented the current status of MoH health care facilities in terms of functionality of ambulances and intensive care units, availability of hospital beds, health personnel, pharmaceuticals and electricity.

- WHO is coordinating with UNRWA, UNICEF and OCHA the preparation of a health sector contingency plan for Gaza.

- In 2007, WHO's emergency activities were supported by ECHO, Italy, Norway, OCHA/Spain, and the CERF.

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