The emergency department at Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, severely affected by Israeli bombardments, has been labeled “a bloodbath” and is deemed “in need of resuscitation” the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday.

A team from the WHO and other United Nations agencies managed to deliver medical supplies to the hospital on Saturday, the largest in the Palestinian territory. Tens of thousands of displaced people are utilizing the hospital for shelter, leading to a severe shortage of drinking water and food, according to the WHO.

The emergency department is described as a “bloodbath,” with hundreds of injured patients and new arrivals every minute. Trauma patients are being treated on the floor, lacking pain management. The hospital, with minimal staff, is transferring critical patients to Al-Ahli Arab Hospital for surgeries due to non-functional operating theaters.

Gaza’s health infrastructure, including Al-Shifa Hospital, has suffered significant damage from Israeli military actions since the October 7 attack by Hamas. Israel accuses Hamas of running a command center beneath the hospital, a claim denied by the hospital and the Palestinian militant group.

The WHO plans to reinforce Al-Shifa in the coming weeks to resume basic services, highlighting the need for regular supplies and staff to activate up to 20 operating theaters and post-operative care services.

Al-Ahli Arab is the only hospital in the entire north of the Gaza Strip that is partially functioning, while three hospitals —Al-Shifa, Al Awda, and Al Sahaba Medical Complex—are currently operational at a minimum, down from 24 before the conflict. The WHO also expresses concerns about Kamal Adwan Hospital, reportedly targeted by the Israeli army on December 13.

Miroslava Salazar, with AFP