The health system in Gaza is “on the brink of collapse” amid warnings from the Israeli military to evacuate to the south, according to the United Nations (UN).
Yesterday, the Israel Defence Force (IDF) ordered an evacuation of northern Gaza, where 1.1 million of all 2.3 million people in Gaza live, within 24 hours.
It is expected that Israel is planning for a ground offensive in the area after carrying out local raids overnight.
The IDF claimed it recovered the remains of some Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas fighters last week as attacks began. Authorities have reported over 120 civilians are currently being held hostage.
Israel said it would offer safe passage to any civilians leaving in the next six hours.
The UN said significant amounts of locals in Gaza have evacuated the northern area but urged Israel to revoke its warning immediately.
“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” it said.
“The United Nations strongly appeals for any such order, if confirmed, to be rescinded avoiding what could transform what is already a tragedy into a calamitous situation.”
It said UN staff and those sheltered in UN facilities such as schools and hospitals have also been ordered to leave the area.
"A new low"
United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres says the situation in Gaza has reached a “new low”.
“The health system is on the brink of collapse,” he said.
“Morgues are overflowing, 11 healthcare staff have been killed while on duty, and there have been 34 attacks on health facilities in the past few days.”
Mr Guterres said “even war has rules” and urged that all people held hostage in Gaza are released immediately.
“It is imperative that all parties – and those with influence over them – do everything possible to achieve these steps,” he said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also urged the Israeli military to rescind its warnings.
“The Palestinian Ministry of Health has informed WHO that it is impossible to evacuate vulnerable hospital patients without endangering their lives,” it said.
“Vulnerable patients include those who are critically injured or dependent on life support.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his commitment to targeting Hamas.
“Our enemies have only started me the price,” he said.
“I will not detail now what is yet to come, but I would like to tell you this is just the beginning.”