UN expresses worry over 9,000 cancer patients in Gaza

UN deputy spokesperson, Farhan Haq, says hospitals are on the brink and overcrowded with patients, with many awaiting treatment in Gaza.

“We are concerned that 9,000 cancer patients lack adequate care because of conditions in Gaza’s only chemotherapy hospital.

“Gaza has now been under full electricity blackout for 10 days,” Mr Haq told journalists in New York on Friday.

According to him, rescue teams, primarily from the Palestinian Civil Defence, are struggling to carry out their mission amid continuous airstrikes, severe shortages of fuel to run vehicles and equipment, and with limited or no connection to mobile networks.

Since Oct. 7, at least 30 per cent of all housing units in the Gaza Strip have been either destroyed, rendered uninhabitable, or damaged, according to local authorities.

Meanwhile, the gender equality agency (UN Women) estimates that the bombardment and violence has already resulted in close to 493,000 women and girls being displaced from their homes in Gaza.

“Additionally, the violence has tragically resulted in a growing number of widows, as an estimated 900 women have become the heads of households,” Mr Haq said.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reported on Thursday night that the Lebanese national army requested the Mission’s assistance in relation to seven individuals stranded near the Blue Line (the unofficial frontier with Israel), close to Sheikh Abad’s tomb, in south Lebanon, “during a significant exchange of fire.”

As part of UNIFIL’s liaison mandate, the Mission contacted the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), urging them to ceasefire, which they did, allowing the Lebanese Armed Forces to extract the individuals from the area.

“Tragically, one of the seven individuals lost his life during this incident. The others were successfully rescued,” Mr Haq said.

The Office of the President of the General Assembly confirmed on Friday that it had received letters from UN Member States calling for a resumption of the Tenth Emergency Special Session of the Assembly on “illegal Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem and the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

Special sessions are convened allowing the UN’s entire membership to make recommendations for collective measures during times of intractable crisis – if requested by either the Security Council (seven of its members or more), or a majority of the General Assembly.

The Tenth Emergency Session was adjourned in 2018 and the President is now consulting members and the Secretariat to decide on the date of the meeting.