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Thousands of lives at risk as Gaza public hospitals face fuel and electricity crisis

Note for the media
27 April 2017

Increasing power cuts and shortages of fuel are creating an impending crisis for Gaza’s 14 public hospitals, threatening the closure of essential health services which would leave thousands of people without access to life-saving health care. The health system’s fuel reserves are sufficient for only a few more days. If a solution is not found, Gaza’s 14 public hospitals will be forced to partially or completely close essential services.

Without fuel, 40 surgical operation theatres, 11 obstetric operation theatres, 5 haemodialysis centres and hospital emergency departments serving almost 4,000 patients daily will be forced to stop critical services. The situation will be immediately life-threatening for 113 new-borns currently in neonatal intensive care units, 100 patients in intensive care and 658 patients requiring bi-weekly haemodialysis, including 23 children. Refrigeration for blood and vaccine storage will also be at risk.

WHO is working with health partners, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the Humanitarian Coordinator to identify potential solutions. The estimated requirements to ensure six months of fuel supply for hospitals in Gaza are about US $ 3 000 000. This will ensure essential energy supply for hospitals, whilst more sustainable solutions are sought.