The World Health Organization said Wednesday it has verified 18 attacks on health facilities, healthcare workers and ambulances by Russian forces who have invaded Ukraine, causing 10 deaths and 16 injuries.
The numbers were revealed by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press briefing, and came amid reports of a Russian airstrike on a Ukrainian maternity hospital.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a tweet that children were buried beneath the debris at the hospital in the southern city of Mariupol and called it an “atrocity.”
“How much longer will the world be an accomplice ignoring terror? Close the sky right now! Stop the killings! You have power but you seem to be losing humanity,” a frustrated Zelensky tweeted.
Tedros, who has said attacking health facilities is against international law, said the agency has delivered 81 metric tons of supplies to Ukraine and is setting up a pipeline for further deliveries.
Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s emergencies chief, conceded to reporters that sending medical supplies to Ukraine was unlikely to make a big difference.
“This is putting bandages on mortal wounds right now,” he said.
Tedros said some of the health challenges the WHO is seeing on the ground are hypothermia and frostbite, respiratory diseases, lack of treatment for cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and mental-health issues.
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“Yesterday, we delivered five metric tons of medical supplies to Kyiv to support surgical care for 150 trauma patients, and other supplies to manage a range of health conditions for 45 thousand people for a month,” he said.
The WHO again called on Russia to commit to a peaceful resolution to the crisis and to allow safe access to humanitarian assistance for those in need.
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