BEIRUT, Jan. 5 (Xinhua) -- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned Friday of an "imminent collapse" of the healthcare system in the southern Gaza Strip.
In a statement sent to Xinhua, the IFRC's Middle East and North Africa office said most hospitals in the north of Gaza have stopped operating due to a lack of fuel, medicines, and medical equipment, while Al-Amal Hospital, one of the few still operational in the south, is about to stop operations due to the same reason amid Israel's persistent shelling, even though it is duly marked with the red crescent emblem.
The IFRC said it was appalled by Israel's continuous shelling of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) headquarters and the PRCS-affiliated Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis.
"We commend the bravery of PRCS volunteers and paramedics, many of whom have lost family members or been detained yet continue to provide services selflessly," it said.
The global humanitarian organization also urged protection for all medical facilities and workers in Gaza under international humanitarian law, calling for "rapid and unimpeded passage for humanitarian aid and safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers."
"It's a humanitarian and moral imperative to ensure that the people of Gaza can access health care during this period of intense conflict," it added. ■