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‘Operation Al Aqsa Flood’ Day 70: A Deteriorating Public Health Crisis

After heavy rains and hail storms ushered in the beginning of harsh winter weather in Gaza earlier this week, displaced people in Rafah have been faced with even more challenges as tents flooded, and they found themselves homeless and freezing, without their winter clothes. “Most of those who evacuated from the northern area left without bringing their winter clothes,” wrote Gaza-based journalist Hind Khoudary, on Twitter. “They have been knocking on the doors of people whose houses were not bombed, asking for clothes.” One enormous problem that the displaced are facing is a lack of sanitation in overcrowded shelters—according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is an average of one shower per 700 people and one toilet per 150 people in Gaza, which has contributed to the rapid spread of infectious diseases.

Predicting Pestilence

Speaking from a hospital ward about fifty meters from where a bomb had just exploded, UNICEF spokesperson James Elder raised his voice over the sound of children screaming. In a video posted on X (formerly known as Twitter), he emphasized that Gaza’s health care system is overwhelmed. Pointing at children packed into the ward of a hospital he said was operating at 200 percent capacity, Elder insisted the hospital “cannot take more children with the wounds of war . . . with the burns, with the shrapnel littering their bodies, with the broken bones.” Calling it a war on children, Elder warned that “inaction by those with influence is allowing the killing of children.”
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