Gaza, 28 October 2023 (TDI): On October 27th, Gaza’s communication system including telephone lines, mobile networks, and internet services abruptly disrupted following the Israeli military’s declaration of expanded ground operations and airstrikes.
Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hastings emphasized the vital role of communication, stating that hospitals and relief efforts were severely hampered without it, in addition to the challenges related to energy, food, water, and medications.
UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) also revealed their inability to contact their staff on ground, raising significant concerns about coordinating aid efforts.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) expressed apprehension regarding its capacity to deliver emergency medical services under these circumstances.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has reported 298 deaths, including 125 children, within the last 24 hours as of 18:00 on October 27th. Since the beginning of the conflict, a total of 7,326 Palestinians have lost their lives in Gaza, with 66 percent of them being children and women.
Israeli authorities have stated that 229 individuals, including Israelis and foreign nationals, are being held captive by Hamas. The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Hamas to release the hostages immediately and unconditionally, a plea reinforced by the Humanitarian Coordinator on October 26 and 27.
Notably, four hostages were released on October 20th and 23rd. Additionally, Hamas claimed on October 26th that 50 of the hostages had been killed in Israeli airstrikes.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the chief of WHO, stated that the blackout was hindering ambulance services, making it impossible to reach the injured. Furthermore, WHO was unable to communicate with its staff and health facilities due to the ongoing communication breakdown.
By Saturday morning, Gaza experienced an extensive communication blackout, lasting over 12 hours, where internet and phone services were severely disrupted. Telecom companies and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society attributed the outage to Israeli bombardments.