Gloomiest of times for Eastern Mediterranean region


Israel bombs Jala Tower killing 10 innocent people in the Gaza Strip, West Bank. File photo by Mahmud Hams / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

from AHMED MOOLA in Cairo, Egypt
Egypt Bureau
CAIRO, (CAJ News) – HEALTH ministers in the Eastern Mediterranean region are meeting in Egypt at a time the zone bears the brunt of some of the world’s most protracted and complex humanitarian crises.

The ministers are meeting until Thursday in Cairo, under the aegis of the 70th session World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Committee of the region.

A total of more than 127 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

In 15 months, the region has witnessed unprecedented flooding in Libya and Pakistan, deadly earthquakes in Afghanistan, Morocco and Syria, as well as serious escalations of fighting in Sudan and the occupied Palestinian territory.

The Eastern Mediterranean region has also documented 64 disease outbreaks so far in 2023, compared with 31 outbreaks in 2021.

Health systems are disrupted.

Disruptions include attacks on health care, inaccessible or nonfunctional health facilities in addition to shortages in medicines and medical supplies.

“These crises demand nothing less than urgent, unwavering action from all parties involved to immediately and fully abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, without hesitation or compromise,” said Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean.

In the occupied Palestinian territory, escalating hostilities with Israel that began on Saturday are compounding an already dire situation.

Power outages and shortages of medicines and health supplies in Gaza Strip hospitals are hindering the delivery of life-saving medical care.

Six health workers had been killed at the time of publishing.

In Afghanistan, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake left an estimated 2 000 people dead when it struck the western region on Saturday.

As of Sunday, there are 4 333 deaths following last month’s storm Daniel in Libya.

– CAJ News

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