Site icon News-EN

How AP analyzed Gaza Health Ministry death toll data


The Associated Press analyzed the death toll in the Israel-Hamas war using data from the Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip. The analysis found that the proportion of women and children murdered has decreased over time.

The ministry, which is part of the Hamas-led government in Gaza, does not distinguish between deaths of civilians and fighters, so the proportion of women and children killed is seen as the best available indicator of the number of civilian casualties.

The ministry has periodically released the underlying data on which its daily death toll updates are based. The datasets released on social media at the end of October, the beginning of January, the end of March and the end of April name people who, according to the ministry, died as a result of the war.

The AP analysis was based on the individuals the Health Ministry identified with full names, genders, dates of birth and Israeli-issued identification numbers. In April, nearly 23,000 deaths met these criteria.

The death toll published daily by the ministry, and often repeated by foreign media, is significantly higher and is not limited to those who have been fully identified.

The ministry’s daily death toll – which stood at 34,622 at the end of April and 36,379 at the end of May – is not accompanied by the underlying data. The count includes bodies that have not been claimed by families, or have decomposed beyond recognition, or for which records have been lost Israeli raids on hospitals – plus persons with incomplete data.

The share of women and children killed in the war has fallen over time, even as the overall death toll has risen, Health Ministry data show, from 64% in October (4,344 out of 6,745 fully identified people) to 62% in early October. January (8,711 out of 14,117), to 57% at the end of March (11,296 out of 19,859) to 54% on April 30 (12,479 out of 22,961).

Women and children made up 38% of new and fully identified deaths in the month of April (1,183 out of 3,102), Health Ministry data showed.

As of the March snapshot, the Health Ministry data included dead bodies that were not fully identified, mainly because they did not have Israeli-issued ID numbers: there were 402 in March and 1,699 in April in this category.

The data provided to AP was imperfect in other respects. Among those fully identified, some were listed twice by the ministry. In March, 531 individuals were counted twice, and in April, 11 individuals were counted twice.

The AP excluded from its analysis all dead bodies that were not fully identified, as well as duplicates; filtering this out had no material impact (less than 1%) on the proportion of women and children murdered.

When the war is over, the Ministry of Health will likely be able to fully identify more bodies and gain a clearer picture of the war’s overall toll and its impact on different groups of people.

Exit mobile version