(NEW YORK) — Israel has unleashed hundreds of airstrikes into Gaza, a 140-square-mile strip of land home to roughly two million people, after the militant group Hamas launched a terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7.
At least 2,778 people have been killed and 9,938 people have been injured in Gaza in the aftermath, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Israeli forces have killed 371 families, according to the agency.
At least 1,400 people have died and 3,400 others have been injured in Israel in connection with the Hamas attack.
The U.N. Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) said that Gaza is running out of body bags, as well as clean water. The Palestinian territory also has no electricity, UNRWA officials said.
On Oct. 13, the Israeli military initially told all residents north of Wadi Gaza — 1.1 million people — to evacuate their homes within 24 hours and move south ahead of an anticipated ground operation from Israeli forces.
A convoy of evacuees was hit heading from Northern Gaza to central Gaza, killing 70 people and injuring 200, according to the Palestinian Government Press Office. Hamas blamed Israel for the attack, while the IDF told news outlets it did not have a role in the strike, instead blaming Hamas for the attack.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced from their homes due to the conflict.
Hospitals in dire conditions
The World Health Organization (WHO), under the United Nations, condemned Israel’s evacuation orders of 22 hospitals, which the agency said is treating more than 2,000 inpatients in northern Gaza.
The Ministry of Health informed the World Health Organization that it is impossible to evacuate vulnerable hospital patients without endangering their lives amid Israel’s warning.
“Forcing more than 2,000 patients to relocate to southern Gaza, where health facilities are already running at maximum capacity and unable to absorb a dramatic rise in the number patients, could be tantamount to a death sentence,” said WHO in a statement.
The two Palestinian Ministry of Health hospitals in the north of Gaza have exceeded their combined 760-bed capacity, according to WHO.
Medical officials say an estimated 35,000 people have crammed into the grounds of Gaza City’s main hospital, Shifa Hospital, seeking refuge ahead of an expected Israeli ground offensive.
Health facilities in northern Gaza continue to receive an influx of patients, functioning beyond maximum capacity, according to the agency.
According to the Palestinian agency, moving patients to other hospitals could risk the lives of those who are critically injured, including newborns in incubators, patients on life support and others.
WHO stated that a forced evacuation of patients and health workers could worsen the humanitarian and public health catastrophe.
“Of the thousands of patients with injuries and other conditions receiving care in hospitals, there are hundreds that are severely wounded and over 100 who require critical care,” said WHO in a statement. “These are the sickest of the sick. Many thousands more, also with wounds or other health needs, cannot access any kind of care.”
Humanitarian crisis: water, food are scarce
Humanitarian authorities are raising the alarm on the worsening crisis throughout Gaza, as Israel has shut out access to food, water and more necessities.
“Gaza is being strangled and it seems that the world right now has lost its humanity,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini.
Fourteen staff members from the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees have been killed in the attacks on Gaza, and international aid agencies are warning they “will not be able to continue humanitarian operations,” Lazzarini said.
Gaza has been under a complete blockade from Israel and Egypt, which have both controlled the flow of people and goods to and from the territory since 2007.
Following the Hamas terrorist attack, Israel cut off the flow of food, fuel and electricity to Gaza, with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallent calling the blockade of resources to Gaza a “total siege.”
ABC News learned from sources on the ground that Israel has not yet resumed water supply in the southern part of the Gaza strip after shutting it off more than a week ago.
Israeli authorities said they would reopen the taps to push the civilian population in Gaza southward ahead of an anticipated invasion.
“People are being forced to drink brackish, untreated water because the price of bottled water has gone up beyond what most people can afford,” said Sari Bashi, the program director at Human Rights Watch. “Food is short, there is no electricity. Even emergency generators that hospitals have are running low on fuel, and supplies are dwindling.”
“After several days of heavy bombardment, thousands of families from the northern part of the Gaza strip, with little warning, were instructed to move from the north southwards,” said William Schomburg, the head of sub-delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza.
He continued, “Today, civilians across Gaza lack food, electricity, and water in order for families to be able to meet their basic needs.”
Gaza has long been experiencing a humanitarian crisis. The majority of Gazans have long been living in poverty and struggling with food security and the ongoing conflict has worsened conditions.
Humanitarian aid is waiting across the border in Egypt, but has not been able to enter Gaza. The border point, which was struck by Israeli airstrikes, remains closed as attacks in Gaza continue.
The ICRC said it is pre-positioning life-saving supplies in Egypt from Jordan so that aid shipments are ready when access to Gaza is granted. This initial convoy includes medicine and 6,000 household kits for families which include hygiene items and chlorine tablets for drinking water.
Additional staff, including a mobile surgical team and other health staff, a weapons contamination expert, and relief coordinators specialized in water, food, shelter, and infrastructure, are also being deployed to Gaza whenever access is granted.
“The International Committee of the Red Cross, the ICRC, stands ready to meet the needs of Gazan communities,” said Schomburg.
“However, in order for us to be able to do this, we need safety, security, and supplies,” he added.
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