(GAZA CITY, Gaza) -- The United Nations said in a Sunday press release that the situation in Gaza is both a "health and humanitarian disaster."
Noting that an estimated 460,000 displaced individuals in Gaza are living in overcrowded conditions at schools, shelters or with relatives. Many of those displaced individuals, the U.N. says, are also unable to access adequate water and sanitation, increasing the risk of communicable and water-borne disease. "Hundreds of thousands of people are sheltering in terrible conditions, pushing U.N. Relief and Works Agency's coping capacity to the edge," said UNRWA's Director of Operations in the Gaza Strip, Robert Turner.
James Rawley, the UNRWA's Humanitarian Coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territory urged that "the fighting must stop immediately." After three weeks of heavy tension and conflict, Gaza's medical facilities and services "are on the verge of collapse," said the U.N. release. A number of health facilities and ambulances have been damaged in the clashes, and at the U.N. says at least five medical workers have been killed and "tens have been injured."
Rawley also called for greater protection for hospitals and medical facilities, stating that "international law sets out clear obligations on the parties to the conflict to respect the status of hospitals and medical facilities as protected objects."
Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio