Roughly 12 children with cancer or blood disorders have been evacuated with their relatives from Gaza to Egypt and Jordan to continue their treatment safely, the World Health Organization said Friday.
More children are expected to be evacuated for cancer treatment as part of this initiative, the WHO said in a statement.
Jordan’s Prime Ministry announced on Tuesday that children with cancer would arrive in Jordan soon to receive treatment at the King Hussein Cancer Center.
The WHO and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital worked in coordination with Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian and American officials to facilitate the evacuation of the children from Gaza, the United Nations agency said.
The two specialized hospitals that offer care to cancer patients in Gaza have been “overwhelmed, undersupplied, exposed to attacks and, due to insecurity, forced to close," according to the WHO statement, adding that the conflict between Israel and Hamas has severely restricted the entry of essential medical supplies, including chemotherapy.
CNN previously reported that Gaza’s leading cancer hospital, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship hospital, stopped operating due to Israeli bombardment and fuel shortages, the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health said in a statement on November 1. Israel's military denied striking the hospital.
Before Israel’s war with Hamas, about 100 patients per day were referred for treatment outside of Gaza, according to the WHO.
“This show of desperately needed humanitarian action should serve to motivate increased access to life-saving care to all people affected by this conflict, both inside Gaza where needs are greatest today, and beyond. I pray this initiative can inspire all parties to put health and peace first,” WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.