The UN humanitarian agency is urgently requesting access to the Israel-Palestine conflict zone, emphasizing the importance of being able to reach those in need.
During the noon briefing for correspondents in New York, UN Secretary-General António Guterres restated his complete condemnation of the terrorist actions carried out by Hamas in Israel, which have no justification.
He stated that he will always remember the “terrible visuals of innocent people being murdered and injured and others being taken as prisoners”, urging for their prompt release once again.
“The Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, stated that the Secretary-General is deeply troubled by the loss of innocent lives in Gaza and the ongoing humanitarian crisis that is unfolding there. The toll on civilians is unimaginable.”
He restated his plea for a prompt ceasefire to address humanitarian needs.
160 children killed daily
“Every day, you think it is the worst day and then the next day is worse,” UN health agency spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said, quoting a colleague in Gaza, which remains under almost complete blockade. “Access, access, access is necessary.”
Mr. Lindmeier informed reporters in Geneva that the amount of death and suffering is difficult to comprehend. According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza, an average of 160 children are lost each day in the region and the total number of deaths has exceeded 10,000.
In the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas, there has been an increase in Israeli bombings and ongoing military actions targeting those involved in the 7 October attacks.
According to the UN World Health Organization’s Mr. Lindmeier, individuals in Israel are experiencing fear, trauma, and distress for their family members. He restated numerous appeals for Hamas to release the captives.
He emphasized the urgent need for medical attention for those who are being held captive.
According to Mr. Lindmeier, in line with previous UN pleas, the key solution is for there to be “a strong desire from political leaders to temporarily suspend hostilities and allow relief efforts to reach the civilian population and hostages in Gaza.”
Efforts have been ongoing to achieve this goal through diplomatic means. On Tuesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, began a five-day trip to the region, starting in Cairo. His purpose is to meet with government officials, members of civil society, victims, and other UN personnel. He emphasized that human rights abuses are the underlying cause of the current escalation and that addressing these issues is crucial in finding a solution to this cycle of suffering.
He plans to go to Rafah at the border of Egypt and Gaza before continuing to Amman, the capital of Jordan.
The spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jens Laerke, stated in a press conference in Geneva that the UN has received an invitation to attend the humanitarian aid conference for civilians in Gaza, which will be hosted by the French Government in Paris on Thursday. It will be announced at a later time who will represent the UN at the conference.
‘Inhumane living conditions’
On Tuesday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) reported that more than 66% of Gaza’s population has been forced to leave their homes in just one month.
UNRWA stated that approximately 1.5 million people are living in constant fear and facing inhumane living conditions, including daily challenges of obtaining basic necessities such as bread and water. Additionally, regular disruptions in telecommunication services have resulted in isolation from loved ones and the rest of the world.
More than 717,000 individuals are seeking refuge in 149 UNRWA facilities throughout the enclave, specifically in the northern region that has been isolated from the rest of the Strip due to Israeli military actions.
to take cargo
There are numerous trucks currently in line, anticipating to transport goods.
“Nothing justifies the horror being endured by civilians in Gaza,” Mr. Lindmeier insisted, stressing their desperate need for water, fuel, food and safe access to health care to survive.
He restated the United Nations’ request for unrestricted, protected, and guaranteed entry for approximately 500 aid trucks per day, not just at the border but also to reach patients in hospitals. These hospitals are performing surgeries, such as amputations, without the use of anesthesia.
He stated that there are numerous trucks filled with aid waiting to enter the Egypt-Gaza border, and that humanitarian workers in Gaza are ready to help with the distribution of relief supplies.
Mr. Lindmeier expressed his pride in the workers who are persevering against all challenges to maintain the health system in Gaza. He referred to them as “real heroes” who are facing constant stress without relief.
The 16 health workers who were killed while on duty are being mourned by WHO. They emphasized that any assaults on health care are prohibited by international humanitarian law.
The issue of overcrowding is a significant cause for concern.
The UN representative, Stéphane Dujarric, announced that the Egyptian Government has approved the deployment of a UN technical humanitarian team to assist the Egyptian Red Crescent Society in delivering aid to Gaza. The team will be stationed near the Rafah crossing at Al Arish airport.
He expressed that the overcrowding in UN facilities in Gaza is still a significant issue.
According to him, at the Khan Younis Training Center, which is currently housing 22,000 displaced individuals, the amount of space allotted per person is less than two square meters. Additionally, there is only one toilet available for every 600 people.
According to our UNRWA peers, deteriorating hygiene conditions and inadequate privacy and space present significant health and safety hazards for those seeking shelter in the area.
and Gaza Strip
Casualties among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
147 Palestinians, including 44 children, have lost their lives as a result of actions by Israeli forces on the West Bank. An additional eight Palestinians, including one child, have been killed by Israeli settlers.
According to Mr. Dujarric, there has been ongoing displacement in the West Bank since October 7th due to either settler violence or access restrictions, with over 900 people affected.