Friday, 22 January 2010

UN slams Israel for deteriorating Gaza healthcare

27 people died last year while waiting for permits to leave Gaza to seek medical treatment.
GAZA CITY — The United Nations on Wednesday said it was "deeply concerned" about the deterioration of the health care system in the Gaza Strip due to Israeli closures of the Hamas-ruled territory.

A year after Israel's devastating offensive in Gaza the borders of the impoverished territory remain mostly sealed, preventing hundreds of patients each month from leaving to receive timely advanced care, officials said.

"We are deeply concerned about the current health system in Gaza and in particular its capacity and ability to deliver proper standards of health care to the people of Gaza," UN Humanitarian Coordinator Max Gaylard said.

"This adverse situation is not like Haiti. Haiti has been destroyed by an earthquake," he told reporters at Gaza's main Al-Shifa hospital. "The circumstances here are entirely man-made and can be fixed accordingly."

Israel tightened sanctions on Gaza in June 2007 after the Islamist Hamas movement seized power, sealing the territory of 1.5 million people off from all but vital humanitarian aid and strictly limiting travel into and out of Gaza.