A senior official of the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza warned on Tuesday of a “real disaster” due to shortages of medicines and medical supplies in the coastal enclave.
Since 2007, Gaza’s roughly 2 million inhabitants have groaned under a crippling Israeli blockade that has deprived them of many basic commodities, including food, fuel, medicine and building materials.
"We suffer serious shortage in the lists of medicines and medical equipment since the beginning of this year," Munir al-Bursh, director-general of the ministry’s pharmaceutical sector, said in a news conference.
"The lack of medicines and the ongoing electricity crisis pose serious threat to the overall health services we provide in Gaza," al-Bursh said.
"Due to the decision to stop the supply of medicines and medical supplies from the Ramallah-based ministry, the deficit of medicines until the end of April stands at 35 percent, with 40 percent shortage in the medical supplies,” he added.
Al-Bursh said 170 types of medicines and 270 of medical supplies had been exhausted.
"The continued shortage of medicines threatens health disaster that will negatively affect the lives of patients," he said.
He also urged Egypt to open the Rafah border crossing in order to give sick Gazans a chance to better treatment.
In 2014, Hamas and Fatah -- which govern the Gaza Strip and the West Bank respectively -- agreed in principle to establish a unity government.
The so-called “unity government” in Ramallah, however, has so far failed to assume a governing role in Gaza due to outstanding differences between the two rival factions.
Earlier last month, Abbas announced plans to take "unprecedented steps” in the Gaza Strip, which has been governed by Hamas since 2007.
While Abbas did not specify as to what “decisive steps” would be taken, some observers believe he was considering severing Ramallah's ties with Gaza.
The Ramallah government, which, like the Palestinian Authority (PA), is led by Abbas’s Fatah movement, is responsible for paying the salaries of some 60,000 PA employees in Gaza and providing health and education services to the strip’s roughly 2 million inhabitants.
By Nour Abu Aisha
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