A large number of people in Gaza rush into UN storage buildings, showing their desperation after enduring a prolonged period of being cut off.
The UN agency responsible for addressing the needs of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) were among the humanitarian groups that documented the events. These incidents occurred after a difficult 24-hour period of no communication and ongoing difficulties with access.
The warehouse in Deir al-Balah that was breached was used by UNRWA to store supplies from humanitarian convoys originating in Egypt.
The WFP also stated that a storage facility held 80 tons of various food items, primarily canned food, wheat flour, and sunflower oil, which were all being kept there before being distributed to families who had been displaced.
“Fear and desperation plague individuals.”
Thomas White, the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, expressed concern about the recent breakdown of civil order in Gaza after three weeks of war and a strict siege. He stated that the people in Gaza are feeling scared, frustrated, and desperate.
He further stated that the reductions in phone and internet service only exacerbated the feelings of tension and fear.
Mr. White commented that the residents of Gaza are experiencing isolation from their families and the rest of the world. He also mentioned that the displacement of people from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip has put a lot of strain on these communities and has added to the already struggling public services.
Some households hosted as many as 50 relatives seeking shelter.
According to Mr. White, the available supplies in the market are depleting and the humanitarian aid being brought in from Egypt via trucks is not enough to meet the needs of the communities in Gaza. The needs are vast, even for basic survival, but the aid being received is inadequate and inconsistent.
Arranged for failure.
The representative from UNRWA stated that within the past week, approximately 80 trucks carrying aid have entered Gaza.
On Saturday, October 28th, the convoy was cancelled due to a communication blackout. UNRWA, the primary organization responsible for receiving and storing aid in Gaza, was unable to coordinate with all parties involved in order to facilitate the passage of the convoy.
According to Mr. White, the current convoy system is destined to fail due to limited truck availability, inefficient procedures, stringent inspections, inadequate supplies for UNRWA and other aid groups, and the continued fuel ban. These factors create a recipe for disaster.
We are advocating for a consistent and continuous delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in order to address urgent needs, particularly as tensions and frustrations continue to rise. The speaker concluded by emphasizing the importance of this action.
In the meantime, the UNRWA teams in Gaza have confirmed that internet services and connections have been reinstated. They will then evaluate the circumstances and work towards resuming convoys and distributing aid.
The small amount of supplies is insufficient.
Samer Abdeljaber, the WFP’s Representative and Country Director for Palestine, echoed the same call: “We require a temporary cessation of hostilities in order to successfully and safely provide food, water, and essential supplies to those in need. There is a pressing need for increased access, and the current trickle of supplies must become a steady stream.”
The attack on the storage facilities in Gaza is a clear indication of the people’s increasing desperation and loss of hope. They have been enduring violence, isolation, and extreme distress for three weeks, leading to their hunger and desperation.
In addition to the general worries, the World Food Programme (WFP) has expressed that a lack of fuel and disruption of communication may potentially disrupt humanitarian efforts. The shortage of fuel has resulted in the shutdown of bakeries working with WFP in Gaza, and transportation services are unable to deliver food to necessary locations.
The WFP has announced its goal to deliver a food lifeline to more than one million individuals currently experiencing hunger. The organization requires a consistent supply of food, and at least 40 trucks from the FP will need to cross into Gaza every day to adequately address the growing demand.
Honouring fallen colleagues
On Sunday, a ceremony was held in Amman, Jordan by UNRWA, headed by Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, to pay tribute to the 59 staff members who have sadly passed away in Gaza since the crisis began on October 7th.
The United Nations and UNRWA are facing increasingly dark days as more of our colleagues are being killed. According to the agency, there is constant talk of unimaginable suffering coming from Gaza.