Aid has been delivered to the devastated northern region of Gaza, while the UN leader praises the ceasefire extension as a sign of progress.
According to a statement from the office of the UN Secretary-General, this assistance is only a small fraction of the immense needs of 1.7 million individuals who have been forced to leave their homes. The Secretary-General has emphasized the urgent need for a complete ceasefire in order to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The prolonged agreement is a small sign of optimism, according to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
When reporters at the United Nations Headquarters in New York asked for his response to the announcement that the Qatar-negotiated ceasefire will continue for an additional two days, Mr. Guterres stated that it was a small glimmer of hope and compassion amidst the darkness of war.
According to OCHA, the UN’s emergency relief coordination office, individuals in the southern region were lining up for long distances in order to acquire cooking gas. They were also resorting to burning household items, such as window frames and doors, for cooking purposes. OCHA also noted that the four-day humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has been mostly upheld.
According to OCHA, Hamas has released 17 additional hostages who were taken during their terror attacks in southern Israel on October 7th. This brings the total number of released hostages to 58. In addition, 117 Palestinians who were held in Israeli prisons have also been released since Friday.
During the weekend, there were new attempts to strengthen the healthcare system in Gaza, which has been severely affected. As a result, a UN convoy was able to deliver vital vaccines from Gaza City to the southern part of the region, where they can be properly stored.
According to OCHA, a UN convoy retrieved 7,600 vaccine doses for different illnesses from the Gaza Ministry of Health storage facility on Sunday. The doses were at risk of spoilage in the northern region due to a lack of refrigeration, but the convoy safely transported them to the southern region.
OCHA emphasized that the vaccines will be used to improve routine immunization, as supplies have been limited and conflicts have caused issues. After careful examinations to confirm their legitimacy, the vaccines will be put to use.
‘Hunger, desperation and destruction’
Humanitarian workers were finally able to access the northern part of the Strip, which had been cut off by Israeli military actions for several weeks. They were shocked by the devastation they saw. Over the weekend, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) worked together to deliver essential food aid to Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza City and neighboring areas.
“The team shared heartbreaking accounts from individuals who have not received any assistance in weeks,” wrote Samer AbdelJaber, WFP Representative in the occupied Palestinian territory, on social media platform X. “They witnessed hunger, despair, and devastation.”
Over the weekend, a joint effort by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) successfully transported 17 patients and injured individuals from Al-Ahli hospital to the European Hospital in Khan Younis, located in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reported that these patients had injuries such as gunshot wounds, amputations, and burns. He also urged for a long-term ceasefire to be implemented.
Urgent food assistance
On Sunday, aid convoys delivered pre-packaged meals to four shelters in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, which are managed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The convoys also provided tents, blankets, and bottled water.
OCHA reported that the convoys were meticulously examined by Israeli soldiers stationed at a checkpoint near Wadi Gaza before continuing on their route north.
Since November 24th, the World Food Programme has successfully provided critical food aid to 110,000 individuals living in both UNRWA shelters and communities hosting UNRWA beneficiaries. This aid has been distributed in the form of bread, food packages, and electronic vouchers.
According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the cost of wheat flour in Gaza has increased by 65% and the price of mineral water has doubled due to the ongoing conflict. This information was reported by OCHA.
‘Burning doors to cook’
Ever since the pause was implemented, cooking gas has been able to enter Gaza. However, OCHA cautioned that the quantities are insufficient to meet the demand.
The United Nations Office stated that there were long lines stretching for two kilometers at a gas station in Khan Younis, located in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. People had to wait overnight for gas, and those who were unable to get it resorted to burning doors and window frames for cooking.