The Lancet Says Gaza Death Toll Could Exceed 186,000

The estimate uses the death toll reported by Gaza's Health Ministry in June and accounts for indirect deaths

The British medical journal The Lancet published an article on July 5 that estimates the actual death toll of Israel’s US-backed military campaign in Gaza could be over 186,000 even if there were a ceasefire today.

The article, written by a group of experts, takes into account indirect deaths that have already taken place and will continue to happen to form its estimate.

“Armed conflicts have indirect health implications beyond the direct harm from violence. Even if the conflict ends immediately, there will continue to be many indirect deaths in the coming months and years from causes such as reproductive, communicable, and non-communicable diseases,” the article reads.

The experts noted that the number of indirect deaths is expected to be large due to the destruction of Gaza’s health sector and the severe shortages of food and other basic needs. They said indirect deaths in recent conflicts range from three to 15 times the number of direct deaths.

“Applying a conservative estimate of four indirect deaths per one direct death to the 37,396 deaths reported, it is not implausible to estimate that up to 186,000 or even more deaths could be attributable to the current conflict in Gaza,” the article reads.

The 37,396 direct deaths are based on figures put by Gaza’s Health Ministry on June 19. Today, the ministry said the death toll has reached 38,193. The number is considered a low estimate since it doesn’t account for the thousands of bodies stuck under the rubble, which the Lancet article says could be over 10,000.

The estimate of 186,000 deaths accounts for 7.9% of Gaza’s population, or about 1 in 12 Palestinians living in the Strip.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.