Humanitarians have declared that the ongoing crisis between Israel and Palestine has reached its breaking point.
Among those uniting behind the message that “enough is enough”, UN relief chief Martin Griffiths renewed earlier pleas for the immediate and unconditional release of the more than 240 hostages captured by Hamas and held in Gaza since 7 October.
The leaders of the UN agency stated that all parties must uphold their duties according to international laws on humanitarian and human rights. This comes as news reports of massive airstrikes in northern Gaza surfaced overnight.
They stated the importance of safeguarding civilians and critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, shelters, and schools.
The global leaders in humanitarian efforts expressed their condemnation of the high number of civilian casualties in Gaza in a joint statement. They also expressed concern over the ongoing deprivation of basic necessities such as food, water, medicine, electricity, and fuel for the 2.2 million residents of the Strip.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza has reported that the death toll since October 7th has reached 9,770, which includes 4,008 children and 2,550 women. This information was shared by the UN’s humanitarian affairs coordination office (OCHA).
Over 2,200 individuals, including 1,200 minors, have been reported as missing in the region, with the majority believed to be buried under the increasing debris.
The officials working for humanitarian aid emphasized that a whole community is being blocked off and attacked, preventing them from obtaining necessary resources for survival. They are also facing bombings in their homes, shelters, hospitals, and places of worship.
They asserted that this is not acceptable.
Solar panels hit
According to OCHA, individuals in Gaza are enduring airstrikes to form queues outside of bakeries in hopes of purchasing bread, as the availability of electricity continues to decrease.
According to OCHA, there have been reports of Israeli airstrikes destroying numerous solar panels on building roofs in Gaza City. This has resulted in the loss of a crucial energy source for hospitals and essential services, as Israeli authorities continue to prohibit the entry of fuel into the Strip.
Attacks on healthcare
According to OCHA’s report on Sunday evening, there were ongoing strikes near hospitals such as the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahiya and Al Quds Hospital in Tal Al Hawa (Gaza City). These attacks caused injuries and damage. The Israeli military stated that armed group members were shooting from these locations.
As of November 4th, the United Nations health agency WHO has reported over 100 instances of violence against healthcare facilities, resulting in the death or injury of nearly 1,000 individuals.
I am appalled by the reported assault on an ambulance convoy near Al Shifa hospital in Gaza. The convoy was headed to the Rafah border crossing to transport injured patients to Egypt, a process that began last week.
The strike was criticized by the World Health Organization (WHO), who reminded that assaults on healthcare facilities and hindering the distribution of necessary aid like medical resources, fuel, and water, could potentially be considered breaches of international humanitarian law.
There is no place of safety for those who are injured.
Due to the shutdown of 14 out of 35 hospitals in Gaza, there is a pressing need for medical care for over 23,000 individuals who have been wounded since October 7th.
According to OCHA, the recent assault on the ambulance convoy resulted in a total suspension of the departure of both dual citizens and injured individuals through Rafah.
OCHA stated that there were no additional evacuations from Gaza during the weekend due to the inability of Hamas, Israel, and Egypt to come to an agreement on safely transporting patients from northern Gaza.
Increasing Incidence of Illnesses
The Israeli Defence Forces instructed Gazans to evacuate Gaza City and the northern part of the enclave on October 13, causing a significant displacement. This has further worsened the already delicate health conditions in Gaza.
More than 700,000 out of 1.5 million displaced individuals in the Strip are currently seeking shelter in 149 facilities managed by UNRWA, which are facing extreme overcrowding.
There have been multiple reports of individuals seeking shelter at UNRWA shelters experiencing acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, and chicken pox.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has issued a warning about a severe lack of water in the northern area of the enclave. This could lead to dehydration and the spread of waterborne diseases from using unsafe water sources. Additionally, the recent damage to three sewage pipelines in Gaza City has created a high chance of sewage flooding, as stated by city officials.
UNRWA expressed concern over the frequent targeting of its shelters by Israeli attacks, rendering them unsafe for those seeking shelter. This past Saturday, an UNRWA school in Jabalia camp, located north of Gaza City, was directly hit by strikes resulting in the deaths of 15 individuals and injuries to 70 others.
As of October 12, the agency reported that more than 160,000 displaced individuals were seeking shelter in 57 of its facilities located in Gaza City and the North Gaza governorate. This was before the Israeli Authorities issued an evacuation order.
Unfortunately, UNRWA has stated that they are unable to reach the shelters to provide aid or protection to those who have been displaced. As a result, they do not have any information on the individuals’ needs or current situation.
From October 7, the organization has grieved the deaths of 88 of its employees – the largest number of casualties ever reported by the United Nations in a single conflict.