Ukraine health system ‘engulfed’ by war: WHO

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The war with Russia has sparked a health crisis in Ukraine, the World Health Organization warned Wednesday, decrying at least 18 verified attacks on health care facilities and personnel.

The UN health agency said Ukraine’s health system was proving “remarkably resilient” following Russia’s invasion on February 24.

But WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan warned that the violence, which in the space of two weeks has driven nearly 2.2 million people to flee the country, was also creating a multipronged health crisis.

Some 1,000 health facilities, including hospitals and health clinics, are situated within 10 kilometres of the frontlines, he said.

“The health system is becoming engulfed in this conflict, engulfed in this crisis,” he told a press conference.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the organisation had so far verified 18 attacks on health facilities, health workers and ambulances, resulting in 10 deaths and 16 injuries.

“These attacks deprive whole communities of health care,” he told a press conference.