“Gaza was in a desperate humanitarian situation before the latest hostilities. Now it is catastrophic. The world must do more,” the organizations say in a joint statement, in which they also state that humanitarian aid flows must be large-scale and sustained, allowing all Gazans to preserve their dignity.
The statement was released on the day that a first, “but limited” shipment of humanitarian material from the United Nations and the Egyptian Red Crescent entered Gaza, in 20 trucks, through the Rafah border.
This is urgent help for “some of the hundreds of thousands of civilians, mostly women and children, who have been deprived of water, food, medicine and other essential goods”, say the United Nations Children’s Fund, Program Food Fund, World Health Organization, United Nations Population Fund and the United Nations Development Programme.
The organizations note that this is far from sufficient aid, because more than 1.6 million people in Gaza are in critical need of humanitarian aid.
“With so much civilian infrastructure in Gaza damaged or destroyed in nearly two weeks of constant bombardment, including shelters, health facilities, water, sanitation and electrical systems, time is running out” and soon death rates could soar.” due to disease outbreaks and a lack of healthcare capacity”, they warn.
Outlining a worrying situation across all sectors in the Gaza Strip, the UN calls for safe and sustained access to water, food, health and fuel, necessary to enable the provision of essential services.
“We call for the protection of all civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, including health care facilities”, the protection of humanitarian workers, and “the utmost respect for international humanitarian law by all parties”, say the UN agencies in the joint statement.
The Islamist group Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel on October 7 with the launch of thousands of rockets and the incursion of armed militiamen, taking two hundred hostages.
In response, Israel declared war on Hamas, a movement that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 and which is classified as terrorist by the European Union and the United States, bombing several of the group’s infrastructures in the Gaza Strip and imposing a total siege on the territory with cuts of supply of water, fuel and electricity.
The conflict has already caused thousands of deaths and injuries, among military personnel and civilians, in both territories.
Read Also: Israel. Five UN agencies call for a humanitarian ceasefire
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