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Guterres urges for renewed efforts to provide aid access to Gaza, stating that history will judge all involved in the matter.
Middle East World News

Guterres urges for renewed efforts to provide aid access to Gaza, stating that history will judge all involved in the matter.

He received a call shortly before UN agencies announced that communication services, including phone, internet, and mobile, were disrupted in Gaza.

According to Lynn Hastings, the UN’s Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Palestine, Gaza is currently cut off from communication with the rest of the world due to reports of increased bombing. This statement was made on X (previously known as Twitter).

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, expressed on social media that there has been a disconnect between their staff in Gaza, health facilities, health workers, and other humanitarian partners on the ground.

He expressed great worry for the safety of those in the siege and the potential health dangers for the vulnerable patients. He called for immediate protection of all civilians and unrestricted access for humanitarian aid.

Catherine Russell, leader of UNICEF, expressed worry about the well-being of her coworkers and the one million children in Gaza. She stated that it is crucial to ensure the safety of all humanitarian workers and the families and children they assist.

Fuel supply critical

The Secretary-General emphasized the importance of providing essential humanitarian assistance, such as food, water, medicine, and fuel, to all civilians in Gaza quickly, securely, and on a large scale.

Prior to the start of the conflict, approximately 500 trucks were entering Gaza daily, but recently, only 12 trucks have been crossing per day. This is significantly lower than the current level of need.

Unfortunately, the resources that have slowly arrived do not contain the necessary fuel for UN operations. This is crucial in order to operate hospitals, water desalination plants, produce food, and distribute aid.

He cautioned that the United Nations will not be able to continue providing aid in Gaza unless there is a prompt and significant change in the way it is delivered due to the dire and drastic circumstances.

Mr. Guterres urged for the adjustment of the verification system at the Rafah crossing from Egypt to facilitate the efficient movement of goods by increasing the number of trucks without any delays.

He stated that it is important to fulfill the expectations and fundamental needs of the people living in Gaza.

‘A moment of truth’

The Secretary-General has expressed his appreciation for the increasing worldwide agreement to halt the conflict temporarily for humanitarian reasons.

He reiterated his request for a ceasefire for humanitarian reasons, the release of all hostages without conditions, and the provision of necessary supplies to save lives.

Without a significant shift, the citizens of Gaza will experience an unparalleled surge of human misery.

“We all have a responsibility to take on. This is a critical moment. Our actions will be evaluated by history.”

Meeting with Iran

In other news, the leader of the United Nations had a meeting on Friday afternoon with Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Foreign Minister of Iran.

According to a statement from his Office, the Secretary-General conveyed to the Foreign Minister the significance of Iran’s involvement in securing the prompt and unconditional release of hostages in Gaza. He also acknowledged their efforts in preventing the spread of the conflict to neighboring regions, specifically in regards to Lebanon.

The World Food Programme distributes bread in a school in Gaza, which is now being used as a shelter.

© WFP/Ali Jadallah

The World Food Programme is providing bread to a school in Gaza, currently being utilized as a shelter.

cannot afford to

Without fuel and bread, the World Food Programme is unable to cover or provide for its financial needs.

The WFP emphasized the impact of fuel shortages on humanitarian efforts in Gaza.

On Friday, Samer Abdeljaber, the WFP Representative in Palestine, stated that without extra fuel, bakeries partnered with WFP would be unable to make bread. Currently, only two of the bakeries we work with have enough fuel to produce bread, and tomorrow there may be none.

This would greatly impact the numerous families residing in shelters who depend on the regular delivery of food.

The WFP supported the Secretary-General’s request for a ceasefire to address humanitarian concerns, emphasizing the importance of ongoing aid distribution to Gaza.

$80 million health appeal

At the moment, the World Health Organization (WHO) is requesting $80 million to address the demands in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), specifically in Gaza. This funding would also go towards preparing for potential situations in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.

The funds will be utilized to expand trauma and emergency care resources, uphold availability of necessary health services and treatment for ongoing illnesses, institute disease monitoring and measures for controlling outbreaks, and guarantee a coordinated response.

The WHO released a statement acknowledging that the ongoing conflict in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories has resulted in a significant amount of civilian fatalities and injuries.

Fear of outbreaks, spillover

Hospitals in Gaza are currently experiencing an overload of patients and displaced individuals seeking refuge, causing them to operate at levels well above their capacity. This is happening amidst ongoing airstrikes and shortages of essential medical supplies, food, water, and fuel.

In total, 1.4 million individuals have been forced to leave their homes and the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the large-scale displacement to insufficient shelters could lead to outbreaks of disease.

In addition, there have been a total of 171 incidents targeting healthcare in the occupied Palestinian territories since hostilities began on October 7. These attacks have resulted in 493 fatalities and 387 injuries, with 56 affecting healthcare facilities and 130 affecting healthcare workers.

The agency issued a warning that the conflict has expanded to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the border between Lebanon and Israel, and Syria. This escalation poses a potential threat of affecting neighboring countries such as Jordan, Iran, and Iraq.

Explosions in Lebanon

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reported hearing explosions in multiple locations in the southern region on Friday. Peacekeepers also witnessed two mortar rounds landing in the sea.

The UN’s representative, Stéphane Dujarric, reported that the Mission witnessed several flares and shells being launched in the UNIFIL’s designated area on Thursday.

According to our recent reports, our firefighters have been providing ongoing assistance to the Lebanese authorities in putting out fires near Alma ash-Shaab and Naqoura. This statement was shared with journalists in New York.

The fires posed a threat to UN facilities and civilian homes, and were caused by clashes along the Blue Line, which serves as the unofficial border between Israel and southern Lebanon. UNIFIL is currently monitoring the situation.