Desperate and hungry Gazans are stopping aid trucks out of fear and a desperate search for food.
The deputy director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) stated at UN Headquarters later in the day that after conducting a food evaluation, approximately half of the population in Gaza is experiencing extreme hunger and uncertainty about their next meal’s source.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva after his visit to Rafah governorate, Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, described the dire situation faced by the people there. He stated that they are “desperate, hungry, and terrified” after 69 days of Israeli military airstrikes in retaliation to the Hamas attacks on southern Israel on October 7.
Desperation, not diversion
Gazans have never faced hunger in their tumultuous past, as stated by the experienced UN humanitarian. They have resorted to taking food directly from trucks out of desperation, as seen in Rafah. This is not due to any misuse of aid.
The chief of UNRWA emphasized the need for increased humanitarian aid to the enclave in order to prevent the already dire situation from worsening. He also urged for the reopening of the Kerem Shalom crossing for commercial vehicles and an end to the “siege” of Gaza, stating that this would help alleviate feelings of betrayal and abandonment by the international community.
Epicentre of displacement
The governorate of Rafah, located near the border of Egypt, has become the main area of displacement, with over one million individuals seeking refuge there. According to Mr. Lazzarini, the facilities of UNRWA are extremely overcrowded, leaving tens of thousands of people without any place to stay.
He stated that the fortunate individuals are those who have shelter within our premises, particularly with the start of winter. Those who are outside are forced to endure living in the elements, exposed to the elements and rain.
The feeling of being overlooked or disregarded.
According to Mr. Lazzarini, individuals in Gaza feel that their lives are not valued as much as others’ and that human rights and international humanitarian law do not pertain to them.
He emphasized the feeling of seclusion that exists in the enclave, emphasizing that the residents simply desire safety and stability, yearning for a regular life that currently feels out of reach.
He expressed his surprise at the increasing dehumanization, condemning those who support wrongdoing in this conflict. He urged everyone to be outraged by the events in Gaza and to reevaluate our principles.
This is a crucial moment that could determine our fate as individuals and as a collective human race.
“He expressed dismay at the slanderous attack against Palestinians and those who offer them assistance, and appealed to the media to assist in countering false information and errors. He emphasized the importance of fact-checking.”
There is no competition in suffering. In the end, there will be no victor in this war. The longer it continues, the greater the loss and the more profound the sorrow.
“The only solution to the longest-standing political conflict, which has remained unresolved for 75 years, is a legitimate and thorough political process. It is imperative that this becomes a top priority. The region deserves peace and stability.”
According to WFP, 50% of the people living in Gaza are experiencing extreme hunger.
The deputy leader of the UN World Food Programme, Carl Skau, spoke to journalists in New York on Thursday after coming back from a trip to Gaza over the weekend. He expressed concern for the state of affairs, describing it as “growingly dire and disorderly.”
“50% of the population is suffering from hunger. The alarming truth is that 90% of individuals do not have access to sufficient food on a daily basis and are uncertain about their next meal.”
He remarked that fear was evident in the eyes of those around him. He also mentioned that many people were filled with questions and confusion. Additionally, he stated that the overcrowded shelters provided no refuge for those in need.
According to him, there is a growing sense of desperation and frustration. He acknowledged that while distribution centers are doing their best, starving individuals in Gaza are naturally resorting to taking as much food as they can, causing a breakdown in law and order.
The food flow needs to be increased.
He stated that what is necessary is an increase in volume, which requires more crossings.
“We also hope to have commercial trucks entering so that we can quickly reinstate the cash and voucher system.”
In order for this to occur, Mr. Skau, a former Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN for Sweden while his country was on the Security Council, emphasized the importance of a humanitarian ceasefire.