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Gaza death toll could be over 186,000: Report

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The British medical journal, The Lancet, issued a harrowing warning that the true death toll of the Gaza conflict could be over 186,000, accounting for 8 per cent of Gaza’s population, Anadolu Agency reports.

The current official death toll stands at nearly 38,200, according to Gazan government sources.

However, The Lancet’s recent report published Friday and titled “Counting the Dead in Gaza: Difficult but Essential”, suggests this figure is a significant underestimate.

The true number likely includes thousands still trapped under rubble and those who have succumbed to the secondary effects of the conflict, such as malnutrition, disease and lack of medical care.

A major contributor to the extensive loss of life is the 14,000 bombs, each weighing 2,000 pounds, supplied by the US to Israel. These bombs have not only caused immediate casualties but have also devastated Gaza’s infrastructure, exacerbating conditions that lead to additional deaths.

The destruction of healthcare facilities, food distribution networks and sanitation systems has left the population in a perilous state.

The Lancet highlights the difficulty in collecting accurate data due to the widespread destruction.

“The number of reported deaths is likely an underestimate. The non-governmental organisation, Airwars, undertakes detailed assessments of incidents in the Gaza Strip and often finds that not all names of identifiable victims are included in the Ministry’s list. Furthermore, the UN estimates that, as of February 29, 2024, 35 per cent of buildings in the Gaza Strip had been destroyed, so the number of bodies still buried in the rubble is likely substantial, with estimates of more than 10,000”

it said.

The report warned:

“The total death toll is expected to be large given the intensity of this conflict; destroyed health-care infrastructure; severe shortages of food, water and shelter; the population’s inability to flee to safe places; and the loss of funding to UNRWA, one of the very few humanitarian organisations still active in the Gaza Strip”

Nine months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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