Israeli soldiers gather around tanks lined up near the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on November 26, 2023
Israeli soldiers gather around tanks lined up near the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on November 26, 2023. AFP News

In a stark warning issued on Tuesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that deaths due to disease in Gaza may surpass those from war.

The United Nations also said that the aid being provided to Gaza is not enough and that more needs to be done. According to a UN estimate, 1.8 million people have been displaced in the Gaza Strip. Most of them have been forced to live in temporary shelters, tents, or cars.

"It is not just the hospitals, everybody everywhere has dire health needs now, because they are starving, because they lack clean water, they are crowded together, they are in terror so they have massive mental health needs. And there is a continuing rise in outbreaks of infections disease," said Margaret Harris, a WHO spokesperson.

"Eventually, we will see more people dying from disease than we are even seeing from the bombardment, if we are not able to put back this health system and provide the basics of life. Food, water, medicines and of course fuel to operate hospitals," she warned.

A report in the Guardian claimed that almost three-quarters of hospitals in Gaza have been closed because of the damage they sustained during Israeli airstrikes following the October 7 attack.

It also needs to be noted that Hamas and Israel have agreed to a four-day truce, which has now been extended by two days. This temporary ceasefire has helped people gain access to emergency aid. It will continue till Thursday.

The Hamas-Israel "truce agreement" has been extended to allow for the release of more captives and an influx of aid into the Gaza Strip.

Lack of clean drinking water, toilets, and clean food could lead to typhoid and cholera outbreaks if something is not done immediately, warn experts. Some senior officials have been in touch with Israel to ensure improved water supplies to the region.

The war between Israel and Hamas began after the militant group launched an unprecedented coordinated attack on Israel. Hamas attacked Israel with a barrage of some 2,000–5,000 missiles on October 7.

Gunmen crossed the border by land, sea, and air, attacking the southern and central parts of Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. In retaliation for the Hamas attacks, Israel's prime minister declared war against the militant outfit.

Meanwhile, the ongoing war has killed at least 15,000 Palestinians, including 6,150 children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which is also controlled by Hamas.

Israel occupied Gaza in the 1967 Six-Day War and returned it to the Palestinians in 2005. It later imposed an air, land, and sea blockade on Gaza after Hamas came to power in 2007. It is home to approximately 2.3 million Palestinians.