‘Absolutely Shocking’ – UN Official Describes Children’s Ward at North Gaza Hospital

Fadi al-Zant, 6, was evacuated to southern Gaza after facing starvation at the Kamal Adnan Hospital in Gaza City. (Photo: Imad Ghaboun, via PIC)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“Every single child in that ward has nutritional deficiencies, are emaciated. They’re on drip feeds and some of them are worse off than others.”

A UN official has described the situation in the children’s ward at the Kamal Adwan hospital in north Gaza where at least 15 children have died as a result of starvation, as “absolutely shocking.”

“I went there because that was the hospital that was recording and reporting the deaths of children through nutritional malnutrition issues,” Jamie McGoldrick, the interim UN Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory told UN News.

He said he went to “the children’s ward, and it’s absolutely shocking to see what’s there.”

“Every single child in that ward has nutritional deficiencies, are emaciated. They’re on drip feeds and some of them are worse off than others,” McGoldrick explained.

“Some of them have complications, such as Hepatitis A or intestinal infections and all of that’s weakening their immune system,” he continued. “And days before we got there, there was some children who died and some of the children in that ward are in very, very bad condition.”

Rising Malnutrition Threatens Children’s Lives in Gaza – UNICEF

Rafah Warning

At least 15 children have died from dehydration and malnutrition at the hospital, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

McGoldrick, who has been to north Gaza “twice because it’s been so difficult to get there,” visited the hospital “this week.”

He warned that “If people are forced to move from Rafah right now and the assumptions are that it will be a large scale incursion … We cannot cope with that.”

Mentioning a figure of up to “900,000 people moving,” he stressed that “There’s nowhere in the world you could cope with that number happening that quickly when we right now are in such a fragile situation in terms of our ability to address the current humanitarian situation.”

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Unmeasured Crisis

The UN official emphasized that “As a crisis, it hasn’t been measured in this way in terms of the intensity of the totality, in terms of impact and population of the speed by which this has happened and the actual, the lack of hope that’s built into this situation.”

“I’ve seen it in pockets in other places, but I’ve never seen in such a mass scale as this one right now.”

McGoldrick stressed that a ceasefire “is the most important thing we need right now” to get much-needed humanitarian aid in “to all those people who we know are really struggling.”

UNICEF’s Concerns

In February, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that the scarcity of food and safe water is compromising women’s and children’s nutrition and immunity, resulting in a surge of acute malnutrition.

Citing a comprehensive new analysis released by the Global Nutrition Cluster, UNICEF said “Nutrition screenings conducted at shelters and health centers in the north found that 15.6 percent – or 1 in 6 children under 2 years of age – are acutely malnourished.”

Of these, almost 3 percent suffer from “severe wasting, the most life-threatening form of malnutrition,” which puts young children at the highest risk of medical complications and death unless they receive urgent treatment.

Rising Malnutrition Threatens Children’s Lives in Gaza – UNICEF

Over 32,300 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 32,333 Palestinians have been killed, and 74,694 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide on the besieged enclave.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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