COVID-19, medical shortages, and power cuts push Gaza into critical health crisis

Manchester-based humanitarian charity Human Appeal has launched an emergency response to support the already-overwhelmed health infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

Hospitals are urgently requesting medical supplies as they struggle to cope with growing numbers of COVID-19 in the most densely populated place in the world. Already, doctors were overwhelmed, following over a week of airstrikes, and amid power cuts lasting up to 20 hours.

Dr Mahmoud Shatat, Human Appeal’s Country Director said:

“The people of Gaza are pushed to the brink once again. COVID-19 threatens to run rampant, and indiscriminately through an already vulnerable population.

“The situation here was already on a knife edge, with a crumbling healthcare system and the absence of clean water, but the outbreak of COVID-19 threatens to tip Gaza over the edge.

“We desperately need to get medical supplies to struggling hospitals, and to ramp up our efforts to chlorinate and disinfect the water supply for over 2 million people. Gaza simply can’t wait.”

Gaza has been under lockdown since 24 August, after the first local transmission of the virus was reported. There are now 250 cases of COVID-19 in the coastal enclave, and local authorities fear that the virus could spread uncontrollably, particularly with the absence of clean water in Gaza, where 97% of water is contaminated and unfit for consumption.

Human Appeal is providing essential medical supplies to 14 hospitals and 54 local healthcare centres in Gaza, helping to directly save and sustain the lives of 120,000 people.

The Manchester-based charity is also cleaning, via chlorination, 284 water wells, 55 water reservoirs, 26 water stations, around 3,000 km of water networks, and 48 water desalination plants.

Active in Palestine for 29 years, Human Appeal is the only NGO working to chlorinate Gaza’s water supply, and has partnered with the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) to disinfect the territory’s entire water network.

Notes to Editors

You can donate to Human Appeal’s Gaza Emergency Appeal at https://humanappeal.org.uk/appeals/gaza-emergency-appeal

Interviews with Human Appeal staff in Palestine can be arranged.

For this or any other media enquiries please contact Sam Baxter on 07495 708236 or Sam Jones on 07531 625233

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