World Health Organization officials called on Thursday (May 20) for a humanitarian pause in Israel's bombardment of Gaza to allow access for aid as the health system in the Palestinian enclave faces critical shortages.
"The closure of entry and exit points for patients and humanitarian health teams and the severe restrictions on the entry of medical supplies is exacerbating this public health crisis," WHO regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari said at a media briefing.
"The severity of injuries is straining an already overwhelmed health system that is facing critical shortages of essential medicines and supplies while also battling the COVID-19 pandemic."
A United Nations convoy to bring humanitarian aid, including 10,000 Sinopharm coronavirus vaccines, into Gaza and to bring wounded people out was ready to enter as soon as it could get access, WHO head for the West Bank and Gaza Rik Peeperkorn said.
"Until there is ceasefire agreed, all parties to the conflict must agree to a humanitarian pause to ensure access into and out of Gaza," Peeperkorn said.
Since fighting began on May 10, health officials in Gaza said 230 Palestinians, including 65 children and 39 women, have been killed and more than 1,700 wounded in air and artillery bombardments.