Gaza's toll: Over 30,000 dead, health ministry reports

The Hamas-controlled health ministry in Gaza reports that the death toll in the territory has surpassed 30,000 since October 7.

Publication: 29.02.2024 - 13:52
Gaza's toll: Over 30,000 dead, health ministry reports
Abone Ol google-news

This figure represents approximately 1.3% of Gaza's 2.3 million inhabitants, marking a devastating milestone in the conflict. The ministry highlighted that the majority of the deceased were women and children, without distinguishing between civilian and combatant casualties.

In a recent update, the ministry indicated that 81 individuals were killed in the last 24 hours alone, raising the total to 30,035. However, this number likely underestimates the actual death toll, as it does not account for those not brought to hospitals, including thousands potentially buried under the rubble from Israeli airstrikes.

The Gaza health ministry, the sole official source for casualty data and endorsed by UN agencies and other international bodies, has registered over 70,000 injuries. The World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledges its "long-standing cooperation" with Gaza's health authorities, praising their capacity for data collection and analysis as credible and robust. According to the WHO, current data reflects a concerning trend of increasing civilian deaths, particularly among children and women, compared to past conflicts in Gaza.

The Israeli military, when queried about the casualty figures, informed the BBC that approximately 10,000 "terrorists" have been killed. The process of casualty registration in Gaza requires hospital or medical personnel to witness a death. Daily, hospitals compile lists of casualties, including names, ID numbers, and injury or death details, which are then consolidated by the ministry's central system in Rafah.

The difficulty of reporting accurate figures has been exacerbated by overflowing morgues, conflicts near medical facilities, and connectivity issues. Nonetheless, a more accurate death toll, including combatant numbers, may emerge post-conflict through efforts by the UN, rights organizations, and the Israeli military.

Criticism persists regarding the lack of detail on how individuals were killed, whether by Israeli airstrikes, artillery, or other means, including misfired Palestinian rockets. The ministry currently attributes all deaths to "Israeli aggression." Additionally, the ministry has reported deaths from "indirect mortality," such as children dying from dehydration and malnutrition in northern Gaza hospitals.

The UN warns that a quarter of Gaza's population faces famine risk, with a sharp rise in infectious diseases, malnutrition, and a severe shortage of medical supplies and care. This crisis follows the onset of the war on October 7, when Hamas fighters entered southern Israel, resulting in approximately 1,200 deaths and 253 hostages, as per Israeli counts.