There have been 473 verified attacks on health care in Ukraine since Russia invaded six months ago, which have killed nearly 100 people, the WHO said Wednesday.
The World Health Organization’s Europe chief Hans Kluge branded the attacks “unconscionable.”
As well as the 98 people known to have been killed in verified attacks on health care, at least 134 others were wounded, the WHO’s figures showed.
Nearly 400 of the attacks hit health facilities. Dozens of attacks struck transport, including ambulances, while warehouses, supplies, personnel and patients were also damaged. Jarno Habicht, the WHO’s representative in Ukraine, said the number of attacks on health care was unprecedented.
“These attacks are not only a violation of international law, they are also a barrier for many who need health care during the war,” he told reporters in Geneva, via video-link from a bunker in Dnipro.
Although the war had had a devastating impact on the health and lives of Ukraine’s people, the health system had not collapsed, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“But no system can deliver optimum health to its people under the stress of war, which is why we continue to call on the Russian Federation to end this war,” Tedros added.
These types of attacks in Ukraine had killed and maimed civilians and health providers alike, as well as denying treatment to those who need it the most, said the WHO.
Kluge paid tribute to the “heroic efforts of health providers… despite their own personal suffering.”
Yevheniia Filipenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva, said that 19 out of 20 missiles that have struck the country in the past six months had hit civilian targets.
“It’s not only the health institutions but residential buildings (that) have been targeted,” she added.
“The level of damage and destruction is unbelievable.”
Education facilities, private homes and cultural sites had all been destroyed or damaged, she said.