Published:  01:46 PM, 19 November 2023

WHO says Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital a death zone, urges full evacuation

WHO says Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital a death zone, urges full evacuation

The World Health Organization said Sunday it had led an assessment mission to Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City and determined it was a "death zone", urging a full evacuation.

"WHO and partners are urgently developing plans for the immediate evacuation of the remaining patients, staff and their families," the United Nations health agency said in a statement, adding that 291 patients and 25 health workers remained inside the hospital.

WHO said it had headed a joint UN team, including public health experts, logistics officers and security staff from a range of agencies on a short and "very high-risk" mission into the hospital on Saturday.

The assessment team had gone into Al-Shifa after the Israeli military had earlier ordered the evacuation of some 2,500 displaced people sheltering on the hospital grounds, WHO said.

"They, along with a number of mobile patients and hospital staff, had already vacated the facility by the time of the team's arrival," the statement said.

Columns of sick and injured -- some of them amputees -- were seen making their way out of Al-Shifa hospital Saturday towards the seafront without ambulances along with displaced people, doctors and nurses, as loud explosions were heard around the complex.

The UN assessment team was meanwhile only able to spend an hour inside the hospital due to the security situation.

The team, WHO said, described the hospital as a "death zone" and the situation as "desperate".

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