War in Gaza has resulted in unprecedented levels of destruction: WHO spokesperson

World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said the war in Gaza, going on since Oct. 7, has caused unprecedented destruction, Anadolu reports.

Jasarevic and the spokesperson of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jens Laerke, spoke to Anadolu.

The war in Gaza has resulted in unprecedented levels of destruction, Jasarevic said, stressing that between 70 to 80% of civilian infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, schools, water, and sanitation facilities, has been destroyed or severely damaged.

Jasarevic said it will take decades to repair the infrastructure in Gaza, including the health system that is barely surviving.

The UN Environment Program estimates that it will take anywhere between three to 12 years to only clear the debris and explosive remnants of the war, Jasarevic recalled, and continued: “United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates that it will take tens of billions of dollars and decades to reverse the overall economic damage, including to rebuild the health system which is on its knees.”

“Only 13 out of 36 hospitals are partially or minimally functioning in Gaza, the majority of them being located in the south of Gaza,” he further said.

Jasarevic, citing a UN report, noted that if the fighting were to stop immediately, reconstruction were to start right away, and the 2007-2022 growth trend were to persist, it would take until 2092 just to restore Gaza’s gross domestic product levels in 2022.

He added: “WHO will continue to implement its operational plan to support hospitals in Gaza with a financial ask for $110 million, with a strong focus on supporting existing health facilities, strengthening and maintaining health care services, managing casualties and reinstituting a trauma care pathway, as well as supporting medical evacuations and maintaining essential health services, working with international emergency medical teams and establishing additional field hospitals to cope with the acute needs.”

Meanwhile, Laerke recalled that OCHA has repeatedly warned about the effects of not delivering sufficient aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

“It is not only war and bombardment that lead to fatal consequences. The public health crisis and starvation that lead to increased poverty can also be fatal,” he further said.

Laerke noted that they were doing their best to deliver aid to the war zone and that they had been calling for a cease-fire on humanitarian grounds for a very long time.

He also said they plan to significantly increase humanitarian aid operations with the cessation of hostilities.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas on Oct. 7, which Tel Aviv says killed nearly 1,200 people.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

For the first time since its creation in 1948, Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, the highest judicial body of the United Nations, over its Gaza war. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

(Source: MEMO)