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Gaza death toll rises to 23,469 amid unabated fighting

Amid the unabated fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the death toll in the besieged enclave increased to 23,469 on Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

According to the Ministry, at least 112 Palestinians were killed in the last 24 hours, contributing to the overall death toll, while 194 people were also injured. Of the total casualties, some 70 per cent are said to be women and children, the Ministry said in its latest situation update.

Since the war erupted in Gaza on October 7, 2023, a total of 59,604 people have been injured. Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra said 6,200 people among the overall injured were in urgent need to receive treatment outside Gaza.

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“The situation in hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip is extremely catastrophic as a result of overcrowding with the wounded and tens of thousands of displaced people,” he noted.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15 out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional. Hospitals are facing challenges such as a shortage of medical staff, including specialised surgeons, neurosurgeons, and intensive care staff, as well as a lack of medical supplies, and have an urgent need for fuel, food, and drinking water.

The nine partially functional hospitals in the south are operating at three times their capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the Health Ministry, occupancy rates are reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units.

Meanwhile, Al-Qedra also called on UN institutions to intervene urgently “to provide water, food and shelter to the displaced before a catastrophe occurs, the consequences of which cannot be tolerated”.

Between January 1-11, only 21 per cent (5 of 24) of planned aid deliveries of food, medicines, water, and other lifesaving supplies to the north of Wadi Gaza proceeded, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

As of this month, 1.9 million people, or nearly 85 per cent of the total population of Gaza, were estimated to be internally displaced, including many who have been displaced multiple times, says the UN Refugee Agency.

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