The World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday warned that Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital—the largest in the enclave—had ceased to function amidst power outages and an ongoing blockade by Israeli forces.
In a statement, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the global health body had managed to speak with health professionals at Shifa, who had described a “dire and perilous” situation with constant gunfire and bombing exacerbating the already critical circumstances. “Tragically, the number of patient fatalities has increased significantly,” he wrote in a posting on X, formerly Twitter. He added that Shifa was “not functioning as a hospital anymore.”
Ghebreyesus called for an immediate ceasefire, stressing that the world cannot continue to stand silent as hospitals “are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair.”
According to social media posts of journalists based in Gaza, at least three newborns at Shifa died over the weekend after being removed from incubators due to power outages.
Gaza health ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra, who is inside the Al Shifa hospital, told the Reuters news agency that an Israel tank was now stationed at the hospital gate. “The tank is outside the gate of the outpatient clinic department, this is how the situation looks this morning,” he said.
Israel maintains the Hamas group has command centers under the hospital, adding it had instructed civilians to leave and medics to send patients elsewhere. It further claimed that it has attempted to evacuate babies and left 300 liters of fuel to power emergency generators at the hospital entrance. However, Qidra said that amount of fuel was sufficient for just 30 minutes, adding Shifa needed 8,000-10,000 liters of fuel per day to maintain its normal operations.
Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza has thus far claimed more than 11,000 lives, including over 5,000 children. It appears to be expanding its assault—with the support of the U.S.—with a surge of clashes on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, and U.S. airstrikes on Iran-linked militia targets in Syria.