GENEVA, Switzerland – The World Health Organization (WHO) is appalled by the attack Monday on the Indonesian Hospital in North Gaza, which reportedly resulted in the killing of at least 12 persons including patients and their companions residing at the hospital.
According to reports, tens of people were also injured in the attack, including some with critical and life-threatening injuries. Health workers and civilians should never have to be exposed to such horror, and especially while inside a hospital.
According to the latest reports, the Indonesian Hospital continues to be besieged. No one has been allowed to enter or leave the hospital: there have been reports of shooting towards those attempting to leave but no injuries or fatalities thus far. The hospital, like others in northern Gaza and Gaza City, has faced power outages since the main and secondary generators stopped functioning several weeks ago due to lack of fuel; it also faces severe shortages of water, essential medicines and supplies. The hospital is only able to provide basic services, putting the lives of those with severe injuries and other medical emergencies at immediate risk.
There have been multiple and ongoing attacks on health facilities in the last six weeks, that have resulted in forced mass evacuations from hospitals, and multiple fatalities and casualties among patients, their companions, and those who had sought refuge in hospitals. The Indonesian Hospital had already reportedly sustained damages due to at least five attacks since 7 October.
WHO has recorded 335 attacks on health care in the occupied Palestinian territory since 7 October, including 164 attacks in the Gaza Strip and 171 attacks in the West Bank. There were also 33 attacks on health care in Israel during the violent events of October 7.
As a result of these attacks and shortages of fuel, medicines, and safe water, and other essential resources, hospital bed capacity in Gaza has gone down from 3500 beds before 7 October to 1,400 beds, leaving critical gaps for patients with injuries and other illness that require hospitalization.
The world cannot stand silent while these hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair.
WHO reminds the parties to the conflict of their obligation under International Humanitarian Law to respect the sanctity of, and actively protect, health facilities. Health care is not a target.