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Good morning, this is Kasmira. Yesterday’s briefing was focused on Gaza as the World Food Programme, Unicef and the World Health Organization described their efforts to deliver aid and assistance amid dire conditions that are increasing the risk of mass disease outbreak.

Meanwhile, the ICRC’s president hoped to “advance humanitarian issues” with a meeting with the leader of Hamas in Qatar.

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Kasmira Jefford


Straight from the Palais

Bringing you the latest from UN press briefings in Geneva.

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Ambulances transport premature babies evacuated from the Al-Shifa Hospital, at the Emirates Crescent Hospital in Rafah, southern Gaza, 20 November 2023. (Keystone/EPA/Haitham Imad)

🏥 Plans underway to evacuate three Gaza hospitals. The World Health Organization (WHO) said that plans were being made to evacuate patients from three hospitals in northern Gaza that had asked for help, as the situation has grown increasingly desperate. Christian Lindmeier, a WHO spokesperson, told journalists that when doctors, nurses and patients ask to be evacuated, “that means the situation on the ground has grown so dire that the only alternative is facing what they think is certain death as hospitals are under attack”.

The three hospitals are Al Shifa, where a group of premature and under-weight babies have already been evacuated to Egypt yesterday, Indonesian Hospital and Al Ahli Hospital. He added that the WHO is coordinating with parties to the conflict to ensure safe passage, but the question remains over where patients would be moved to. “There is no safe space,” he said, adding that non-specialised hospitals in the south were the only option but these were already over-crowded.

🚰 Disease outbreak next big threat to life in Gaza, Unicef warns. Water shortages, overcrowding at shelters, and a breakdown in basic sanitation is increasing the risk of “mass disease outbreak” which in turn could lead to a surge in the number of children dying, the UN children’s agency (Unicef) warned. James Elder, the agency’s spokesperson, told the media that cases of diarrhoea among children under the age of five had risen to 10 times the monthly average, in addition to increases of other diseases such as scabies, lice and chicken pox.

More than 12,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza including 5,350 children, according to Palestinian health officials. Speaking at the same press conference, World Food Programme chief economist Arif Husain said on average, people have access to no more than one to three litres of water per day compared to the 15 litre international minimum standard, raising serious concerns about dehydration and water-borne diseases. The agency called for “regular supply corridors” and resources like fuel and gas to be able to deliver aid.

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