-Unfolding Humanitarian Crisis In the Israel-Palestine War
By Insight Post Uganda
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths has issued a chilling statement regarding the rapidly escalating crisis in Israel and Palestine, describing the scale and speed of the unfolding events as “bone-chilling.”
For the past four days, UN agencies have been working tirelessly as the conflict escalated following an attack launched by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad on Israel. In response, Israel initiated intensive airstrikes and imposed a complete siege on the Gaza Strip.
According to Griffiths, the devastating toll on both sides of the conflict emphasises that the situation is dire. The relief coordinator further reported that hundreds of Israelis have lost their lives, with thousands more injured. In addition, many are being held captive, facing appalling threats to their lives.
Concurrently, hundreds of Palestinians have been killed, and thousands more have been injured in the intense bombing campaign in Gaza. Griffiths pointed out that homes, health centres, and schools providing shelter to displaced families have also been hit.
In a resolute message to all parties involved, Griffiths emphasised the imperative need to uphold the laws of war. He has called for the humane treatment of those held captive and the immediate release of hostages.
Furthermore, he stressed the necessity to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure. Griffiths urged that civilians be allowed to move to safer areas and emphasised that humanitarian relief and essential services and supplies must not be blocked.
Food Assistance for Gaza
The World Food Programme (WFP) has taken swift action to provide critical food assistance to over 800,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank.
In a separate plea, the WFP has called for the establishment of humanitarian corridors to facilitate the entry of aid and humanitarian assistance into Gaza. They are also appealing for safe and unobstructed passage for their staff and essential commodities.
Gaza, home to more than two million people, has experienced a severe crisis, with over 200,000 individuals displaced from their homes. Most of them are now taking refuge in schools operated by the UN agency that assists Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.
To address this critical situation, the WFP urgently requires access and funding. They are seeking $17.3 million in the next four weeks to provide vital assistance.
Dire Humanitarian Situation
UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lynn Hastings, revealed that the situation has deteriorated rapidly. Israel has cut off the water supply to Gaza, compounding an existing scarcity issue.
Access to electricity, food, and fuel has also been severed, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation that has persisted for over 15 years due to the blockade.
Currently, electricity is available for only about four hours a day, hindering the ability of health facilities to function and treat the injured.
“The United Nations and its humanitarian partners in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are working to meet acute needs, particularly in terms of shelter, despite the dangerous circumstances,” Hastings stated.
However, she added, access for humanitarian staff and supplies to Gaza has also been restricted, and the intensity of the hostilities is limiting the ability of staff to deliver aid.