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UN chief says aid for Gaza is ‘completely inadequate’

UN Secretary-General António Guterres says supplies are not enough to meet the rising needs of civilians trapped there amidst the intensifying fighting.

UN chief says aid for Gaza is ‘completely inadequate’
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Civilian casualties mount as the Gaza-Israel conflict continues, with the latest figures from the Gazan Ministry of Health reporting over 8,300 killed in Gaza since 7 October.

The United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency (UNRWA) reports that over 670,000 internally displaced Gazans are sheltering in 150 UNRWA installations.

Civilians in Gaza are being denied access to essential food, water, medicine, and fuel despite a slight increase in the number of aid trucks entering the region. 

According to reports, only 131 lorries carrying water, food, and medicine have been allowed into Gaza through Rafah since Israel closed other border points and restricted supplies of power and water as it laid siege to the strip following Hamas’s deadly assault on October 7. 

That is a fraction of the 500 trucks that entered the enclave every day before the war.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the level of humanitarian aid provided to Gaza is falling short of the needs of Gaza civilians, calling it “completely inadequate.” 

In a statement, Guterres said depriving Gaza’s people of basic supplies was only “compounding the human tragedy” of the conflict, calling for unimpeded humanitarian access “to be granted consistently, safely and to scale to meet the urgent needs created by the catastrophe unfolding in Gaza.”

Guterres said he was “deeply alarmed” by the intensifying conflict. “This includes the expansion of ground operations by the Israel Defense Forces accompanied by intense air strikes and the continued rocket fire towards Israel from Gaza.”

“Civilians have borne the brunt of the current fighting from the outset. Protection of civilians on both sides is paramount and must be respected at all times,” he added.

Surgeons are amputating limbs on hospital floors without anesthesia, and children are being forced to drink salt water to survive, said Jean-François Corty, vice president of Médecins Sans Frontières, which has 20 staff on the ground. 

Yesterday, Egypt announced it will permit critically injured Palestinians through the Rafah border crossing to receive treatment. 

According to the governorate’s health officials, nearly 150 ambulances are ready to transport patients, and an additional field hospital was being set up, raising the total capacity of hospitals in North Sinai to 350 beds.

The UNRWA also reported that it had lost 67 staff members in the recent conflict in Gaza. 

Meanwhile, France, Britain, and the Netherlands are drawing up plans to send humanitarian aid to Gaza by ship to ease the plight of Palestinian civilians and alleviate pressure on the border crossing with Egypt, which has become a chokepoint for convoys.

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