The United Nations is urging for an immediate increase in aid efforts as a large number of people flee to Rafah from Gaza.
On Friday, UN emergency relief chief Martin Griffiths expressed concern on social media platform X over the situation of a distressed and fatigued population who are being squeezed into an increasingly smaller area of land.
However, significant challenges remain in providing additional assistance to those affected by ongoing Israeli airstrikes and intense conflict on the ground.
According to reports from Gaza’s health authorities, the UN’s humanitarian affairs coordination office (OCHA) stated that half of the pregnant women seeking refuge in shelters in the area are experiencing thirst, malnutrition, and inadequate healthcare. Additionally, there is a shortage of vaccinations for newborns and one out of every two children who have been displaced are at risk of dehydration, malnutrition, and illness.
At the beginning of Israel’s retaliation for Hamas’s deadly terror attacks on October 7th, approximately 1.9 million Gazans, which is equivalent to 85% of the population, were forced to leave their homes.
OCHA reported that the most recent surge of displacement was caused by increased fighting in Khan Younis and Deir al Balah in Gaza, as well as evacuation orders from the Israeli military.
About 10 days ago, OCHA reported that Rafah, a city in Gaza, had an estimated population density of over 12,000 people per square kilometre, surpassing that of New York City.
Aid access compromised
Although a UN Security Council resolution was passed last week, calling for an increase in aid distribution to the enclave, the ability to reach those in need has still been severely lacking.
According to OCHA, on Thursday, only 76 trucks crossed into Gaza from Egypt via the Rafah crossing. This is significantly lower than the daily average of 500 truckloads (which includes fuel and private sector goods) that were entering on every working day before October 7.
“Do not underestimate the challenges of delivering aid to Gaza,” stated the UN’s Mr. Griffiths on X, highlighting the obstacles that humanitarian workers face in assisting the people in the Strip. These include multiple inspections, limited entry points, ongoing attacks, and damaged infrastructure.
He insisted that the fighting must stop as it is an unmanageable situation for the inhabitants of Gaza and those attempting to aid them.
The previous week, the United Nations leader, António Guterres, stated that successfully providing aid in Gaza relies on having security measures, a safe working environment for staff, logistical capabilities, and the restoration of commercial operations.
He came to the conclusion that these four elements are nonexistent.
Striving against the clock to deliver food to local communities.
Despite the obstacles, aid workers have persevered in their efforts to aid distressed residents of Gaza. On Thursday, the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) provided food packages to 10,000 families who have been displaced and are staying in temporary camps in Rafah.
According to OCHA, approximately 200 individuals in leadership positions have been selected to gather aid for families in their communities. Each package will provide enough food for a family’s needs for a period of 10 days.
“It’s amazing to witness the collaboration between our team and communities as we work together to urgently provide life-saving food in Gaza,” stated Samer AbdelJaber, the WFP representative in Palestine, on the social media platform X.
Due to time and safety limitations, only 45% of the intended recipients were able to receive assistance on the first day. The distribution will resume on Friday.
Humanitarian organizations issued a warning last week that over 25% of households in Gaza are facing severe hunger. The latest report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) confirmed that the entire population of Gaza, approximately 2.2 million individuals, is experiencing “crisis or worse” levels of acute food insecurity. This indicates a high risk of famine occurring in the next six months in the region.
The source is the United Nations news website.