Gaza is currently experiencing its longest communication blackout since the Israeli operation began in October, as reported by the Palestine Red Crescent Society on Sunday. This prolonged disruption, now in its fourth day, has severely limited visibility into the events unfolding on the ground, according to internet monitoring organization NetBlocks.
Struggling to Maintain Critical Services
Osama Kahlut, the supervisor of the Red Crescent emergency operations room in Gaza, expressed the severity of the situation in a video posted on X, a social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Kahlut highlighted that the Red Crescent is turning to VHF radio as an alternative communication method. However, he pointed out that this solution is far from ideal, as it "limits the space available for communication" and is "weak and susceptible to interference from other sources”.
This compromised communication channel is impacting the credibility and volume of information received, posing significant challenges to ambulance services, especially amidst the ongoing power outage. The power outage has severely affected the main aerial communication service provider located at the association’s headquarters in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.
“This poses a significant challenge for ambulance vehicles in responding to humanitarian cases,” Kahlut added, emphasizing the difficulties in ensuring mobility and reaching those in need.The Red Crescent also reported on X that their emergency medical teams face substantial challenges in reaching the wounded due to the ongoing shelling.
A Humanitarian Crisis Unfolding
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah released a statement on Sunday revealing the grim statistics of the ongoing conflict. Between October 7 and December 15, approximately 18,800 Palestinians have died, 70% of whom were women and children.
The death toll includes over 300 health sector workers, 86 journalists, 135 employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, and around 35 civil defense crews. In addition, more than 51,100 people have been reportedly wounded, with many others unaccounted for.
The report further states that out of 36 hospitals in the enclave, only eight are partially functional. Occupancy rates in inpatient departments have surged to 206%, while intensive care units are operating at a staggering 250% capacity.