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The United Nations is calling for significant changes to be made in order to improve access to aid relief in Gaza, citing concerns of a potential famine.
Middle East World News

The United Nations is calling for significant changes to be made in order to improve access to aid relief in Gaza, citing concerns of a potential famine.

Cindy McCain, the leader of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), expressed concern over the plight of people in Gaza who face the possibility of starvation while food-filled trucks are only a few miles away. She was joined in her appeal by the leaders of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN health agency WHO.

The United Nations and its aid partners have been supplying daily food to individuals within Gaza since Israel imposed a near-complete blockade in response to terror attacks led by Hamas. These attacks resulted in the death of around 1,200 people in southern Israel and approximately 250 individuals being held hostage within Gaza.

The UN plea stated that relying solely on humanitarian assistance is not enough to fulfill the basic needs of the people in Gaza. Ms. McCain emphasized the urgent need for increased aid deliveries, as the entire population of Gaza depends on aid for their survival.

The Executive Director of the WFP emphasized the urgency of the situation, stating that every hour that passes without action increases the potential loss of lives. To prevent famine, it is crucial to ensure adequate supplies are delivered to those in need and that safe access is granted to all individuals, regardless of their location.

On Thursday, WFP’s first food convoy to northern Gaza since the humanitarian pause late last November delivered food supplies for around 8,000 people.

The three UN agencies stated that prompt measures were necessary to meet their requirements.

  • Create new entry paths.

  • Increase the number of trucks permitted to pass through border inspections on a daily basis.

  • Guarantee less limitations on the mobility of humanitarian personnel.
  • Ensure the well-being of individuals who are receiving and providing assistance.

According to recent food security assessments in Gaza, approximately 2.2 million individuals were classified as experiencing crisis or worse levels of severe food insecurity.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the majority of Palestinians in Gaza are going without regular meals, and many adults are sacrificing their own meals in order to ensure that children have enough to eat. This is due to the damaged state of essential water, sanitation, and health facilities, which has resulted in a dire situation of malnutrition and disease outbreaks, as warned by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

UNICEF pointed out that Gaza’s population of 335,000 children under the age of five are at a particularly high risk. They also warned that in the coming weeks, there could be a 30% increase in child wasting, a severe type of malnutrition that could impact up to 10,000 children.

According to UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell, children who are at a high risk of dying from malnutrition and disease require urgent medical care, access to clean water and sanitation services. However, the current situation on the ground does not allow us to safely reach these children and their families in need. Despite the desperate need for materials to repair and improve water supply, there are restrictions preventing them from entering Gaza. The lives of these children and their families are in a critical state and every minute is crucial.

The United Nations aid organizations emphasized the critical necessity for Israeli permission to utilize a functional port near the Gaza Strip and entry points at the northern border.

According to the statement, having access to Ashdod port, which is approximately 40 km north, would allow for a greater amount of aid to be transported and delivered directly to the heavily impacted northern areas of Gaza. This has been a challenge for many aid convoys in the past.

“The amount of assistance provided is significantly less than the immense humanitarian needs,” remarked Phillipe Lazzarini, the Commissioner General of the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Lazzarini stressed that humanitarian aid alone cannot alleviate the increasing levels of hunger among the population. It is essential to also have commercial supplies to reopen markets and support the private sector in providing alternative options for accessing food.

The leaders of the agency stressed the immediate importance of removing obstacles and limitations to providing aid to and within Gaza, as well as resuming commercial traffic. They restated the request for a humanitarian pause in fighting to facilitate the crucial implementation of a large-scale, multi-agency humanitarian effort.

According to the most recent humanitarian update from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), civilians in the area are still being bombarded by Israeli forces and experiencing ongoing fighting, while there are also calls for the release of hostages.

OCHA reported that militants have resumed firing rockets into Israel, resulting in the deaths of 260 Palestinians and injuries to 577 others between January 12 and 14.

The update occurred when recent pictures were shared on Sunday evening, displaying three of the 250 individuals who were initially taken hostage during the Hamas-led assaults on southern Israeli communities.

In a video message of unspecified date, all three incarcerated individuals appealed for their secure release.

According to reports, it has been almost 100 days since the three individuals who were kidnapped have been spotted. It is said that over 130 captives are still being held by Hamas and other extremist groups.