TWN Info Service
on Health Issues (Jan09/03)
chief requested to dispatch urgent mission to Gaza
Geneva, 22 Jan (Riaz K. Tayob) -- The Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) has requested Director-General Dr Margaret Chan to dispatch "an urgent specialized health mission" to Gaza. The mission has been tasked with identifying the urgent health and humanitarian needs and assess the destruction of medical facilities that has occurred in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in the Gaza Strip.
In a resolution adopted Wednesday evening, the Executive Board also requested the Director-General to submit a report to the Sixty-second World Health Assembly (which will be convened from 18-27 May 2009) on current, medium- and long-term needs on the direct and indirect effects on health of the Israeli military operations.
The WHO Executive Board is currently holding its 124th session from 19-27 January.
resolution on "The grave health situation caused by Israeli military
operations in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in the
occupied Gaza Strip" was adopted by a vote of 28 in favour, 4 abstentions
and one against (the
sponsors of the resolution included Executive Board members
first draft of the resolution had initially been tabled on Tuesday but
was only considered on Wednesday at the behest of the
the redrafted resolution was presented on Wednesday, the
(The Executive Board, which is made up of 34 member States drawn from various WHO regions, generally prefers to take decisions by consensus. The 34 members are entitled to vote, while other WHO members may provide input to the discussions but cannot vote.)
from requesting the Director-General to dispatch an urgent health mission
It called for a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza Strip, to lift its blockade and to open all border crossings to allow access and free movement of humanitarian aid to the occupied Gaza Strip, including reinforcing of humanitarian corridors to ensure the delivery of humanitarian medical and food aid and to facilitate the passage of medical teams and the transfer of the wounded and injured.
It stressed avoiding targeting civilians and residential areas from both sides in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and avoiding of targeting of hospitals, clinics, medical centres, ambulance and emergency crews and food and medicine warehouses.
The resolution also called upon providing Palestinian people with the protection to live in security on their land, allowing them free movement and facilitating the tasks of medical teams, ambulances and emergency relief efforts, and enabling them to continue to provide health services.
It called for the urgent provision of necessary support for the Palestinian people by making available the urgent and immediate needs of ambulances and medical teams, medicines and medical supplies, as well as necessary coordination measures to facilitate the passage of this assistance to the Gaza Strip in support of the health sector and preventing the collapse of health institutions.
The resolution also called for contribution to the reconstruction of the health infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, which has been destroyed by the Israeli military operations.
the UN Coordinating Council called on Thursday for solidarity with the
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
and other UN staff in
Council observed that the main victims have been Palestinian civilians:
As of 16 January 2009, the death toll stood at 1,115 dead, including
370 children, with 5,150 wounded, 1,745 of them children, according
the UN Staff Council's Standing Committee on the Security and