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UN health agency seeks Gaza 'humanitarian corridor'‎

WHO has warned of a 'huge strain' on health facilities in Gaza and expressed concern about attacks on health facilities and medical staff
Gaza officials say ambulances have been hit and medics prevented from reaching the injured by Israel (AFP)

The World Health Organization (WHO) urged on Friday the creation of a humanitarian corridor in the besieged Gaza Strip to allow for the evacuation of the wounded.

"WHO is calling for the creation of a humanitarian corridor ... to reach various crossings and to help in the evacuation of the large number of injured people," said Paul Garwood, a spokesman for the UN health agency.

"There's a daily increase in casualty figures," he told reporters.

Garwood said WHO representatives had been in contact in recent days with Israel as well as Egypt to discuss the possibility of setting up a corridor.

He said that as of Thursday, the total number of people injured in Gaza since the start of the Israeli offensive on 8 July stood at 5,118, among them 1,561 children, 1,700 women and 203 elderly.

"The huge strains on the facilities inside Gaza, coupled with the challenges to get replenishments to those facilities, and the increasing insecurity on a daily basis is increasing the number of people who are getting injured, and they need better medical care," he added.

A further concern is attacks on health facilities and medical staff, with hospitals, clinics and ambulances being damaged or destroyed.

"This underscores the need for health facilities, patients and staff to be protected. It's a humanitarian right," Garwood said.

On Friday morning Gaza’s Health Ministry announced that the 52 entire families have been killed in Israel’s onslaught on the Palestinian coastal enclave, ranging from families consisting of four to 21 people.

The UN says over 170,000 people have been displaced since Israel launched its offensive on 7 July. On Thursday two dozen people were killed and hundreds injured when an Israeli airstrike hit a UN school providing shelter to some of the displaced people.

The UN has called for an urgent investigation into the incident.

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