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World Health Organization (WHO)
31 December 2008
Health Action in Crises
Highlights No 240 - 22–31 December 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.
OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY
Assessments and Events
Following the renewed violence, MoH hospitals in the Gaza Strip reported receiving about 1600 injured people, of whom 1000 were hospitalized. Hospitals are overwhelmed by the initial influx of patients and emergency and operating rooms are under pressure.
Shortages of medicines and supplies were reported and if the situation continues unchanged, it will result in a surge in preventable deaths from complications due to trauma.
The MoH reported that evacuation was not possible since the equipment and staff needed to keep critical cases stable during transport were not available.
WHO mobilized 50 surgical supply kits, sufficient to treat 5000 injuries. The supplies have been secured with support from Norway and the Humanitarian Emergency Response Fund. Norway also donated nine inter-agency emergency health kits, providing essential medicines and supplies for 90 000 people for three months. WHO aims to deliver the kits within the next few days.
WHO is working with the MoH and international and local organizations to coordinate assistance and to ensure that relief supplies, which are beginning to arrive from various sources, reach those who need them. All partners are requested to coordinate incoming supplies with WHO. WHO, with the MoH and NGOs, is preparing a matrix of needs.
WHO’s emergency activities are funded by ECHO, Italy, Norway, Spain and OCHA.
More information is available at: www.emro.who.int/palestine/ and on the
HAC web site
WHO is calling for an immediate end to hostilities in the Gaza strip and urges Israel to ensure immediate provision of fuel and critical life-saving/trauma care supplies.
See the WHO statement