Israeli airstrikes pounding Gaza are deepening the humanitarian crisis in an area that was already in deep distress. "The situation is absolutely disastrous," U.N. official Christopher Gunness told CNN on Sunday, as a second day of aerial attacks brought the death toll in Gaza close to 300. Hundreds more people have been injured.
Gaza is headed for "a major humanitarian disaster" unless the fighting ends soon, said Dr. Eyad El-Sarraj, a psychiatrist who runs Gaza's mental health program. "The children are terrified," he said. "Adults are unable to provide them with security or warmth. Hospitals are stretched out of the limits. We need blood and medicine and surgical equipment."
"People are suffering and dying because of shortages of medical equipment," said Dr. Mahmoud el-Khazndar, who works at Gaza City's Shifa Hospital. "The hospital is not accustomed to accept mass casualties like this."
Gunness, a spokesman for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), said the agency has been unable to get needed medical supplies into Gaza for more than a year, because of Israel's blockade of border crossings.
"To have tens of thousands, indeed hundreds of thousands, of angry, hungry, desperate people on the borders of Israel is not in Israel's interest," he said. "It's only the militants, it's only the extremists who benefit from the situation in Gaza."
Dead piled on top of each other
No more room in the morgue