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Israel's war with Hamas leaves Gaza hospitals short on supplies, full of dead and wounded civilians

Basic necessities running out in Gaza
U.N. warns civil order is breaking down in Gaza after residents break into warehouses 02:08

Jerusalem — Israel says its war is only with Hamas, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has flatly rejected calls for an immediate cease-fire, but the toll has been immense for the roughly 2 million people who live in the Gaza Strip. For civilians caught between two sides intent on destroying each other, it's become a daily struggle for survival.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-controlled Gaza says more than 8,500 people have been killed by Israel's relentless airstrikes on the enclave in response to the U.S.-designated terror group's bloody Oct. 7 attack, which Israel says left more than 1,400 people dead.

About 66% of the fatalities in Gaza have been women and children, according to the ministry, which puts the toll of children alone at 3,500.

Humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsens amid food shortages and civilian deaths 02:27

Israel disputes the figures provided by the Hamas regime in Gaza, but entire neighborhoods in the densely populated Palestinian territory have been razed to the ground. All of its hospitals — struggling to keep generators running under an Israeli blockade that was tightened after the unprecedented Hamas attack — are flooded daily with more dead and wounded.

The Health Ministry said Tuesday that the generators at Gaza City's biggest hospital, al-Shifa, and some others, would run out of fuel by the end of Wednesday if there weren't new supplies. The generators are the only way to keep the lights and the life-saving equipment at the hospitals running.

The executive director of UNICEF, the U.N.'s children's agency, warned Monday that if the Gazan officials' numbers are accurate, "this means that more than 420 children are being killed or injured in Gaza each day — a number which should shake each of us to our core."

"This surpasses the number of children killed annually across the world's conflict zones since 2019," said Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the U.N.'s aid and works agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, adding: "This cannot be 'collateral damage.'"

Israeli attacks continue on the 25th day in Gaza
People help bury members of the Al-Ahcazi family killed amid Israeli airstrikes on their building in Rafah, Gaza, Oct. 31, 2023. Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu/Getty

Israeli military and government officials insist they're doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties, and they have repeatedly blamed Hamas for all "collateral damage" in Gaza, accusing the group of hiding behind and underneath civilians, using them as human shields.

U.N.: Aid getting into Gaza "nothing compared to the needs"

Lazzarini said the "handful" of aid convoys that had been allowed into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt were "nothing compared to the needs of over 2 million people trapped in Gaza."

"The system in place to allow aid into Gaza is geared to fail," Lazzarini said, urging all the parties in the region to find "the political will to make the flow of supplies meaningful, matching the unprecedented humanitarian needs."

The Israeli government, under increasing pressure from the global community to ease the escalating humanitarian crisis, said Wednesday that 80 trucks were being inspected on the Egyptian side "in preparation to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing." Israel said it would be "the largest aid transfer since the start of the war."

It did not say, however, whether the convoy would include any fuel, which Israel has not allowed into Gaza in 24 days. Israeli officials accuse Hamas of hoarding fuel in Gaza.

Lisa Doughten, a senior official with the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said Monday that it was "imperative" for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza "without impediment, and at the scale required," and she said fuel supplies were a particularly urgent concern as they're "vital for powering most essential services, including hospitals and water desalination plants, and to transport humanitarian relief inside Gaza."

She issued an appeal on behalf of OCHA for a second border crossing, the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel into Gaza, to be opened, calling it "the only crossing equipped to rapidly process a sufficiently large number of trucks."

Israel's Netanyahu rejects calls for cease-fire with Hamas 13:31

Supplies of virtually all basic human necessities are running out fast in Gaza. The U.N. said Monday that civil order was breaking down after several of its warehouses in the enclave were broken into by desperate people grabbing sacks of flour, wheat and whatever else they could find.

Underneath Gaza, Hamas has dug into a maze of tunnels where it's believed the militants have stockpiled enough food to last months. But for Palestinian civilians who've already endured 16 years of an Israeli blockade, daily life now revolves around scrounging for anything they can find.

First, they have to survive through the night, when the roar of explosions is often broken only by the sound of weeping.
Even with death all around his family's home in Rafah, not far from the border crossing, Mohamed Al Kurdi was looking forward to celebrating life. He was due to get married in a few days, and his mother was excitedly preparing for the big day with him.  

"She was showing me what she brought for me," he said Monday, sobbing. "Ten minutes later, the Israelis hit our home without any warning. What did we do? We were gathered in our home, eating and drinking. What did we do?"

Now, instead of a wedding, Al Kurdi is planning funerals.

"My mother, sisters, aunt and her daughters and small kids, who are 4 and 7 years old, were all martyred," he said. "What did they do?"  

As the death toll mounts, so too does the number of catastrophic injuries.

Doctors and nurses are struggling to treat patients, many of them just tiny children, now terrified and traumatized.

CBS News' Pamela Falk at the United Nations contributed to this report.

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