UN warns not enough aid convoys are arriving in Gaza


Only five out of 24 scheduled humanitarian deliveries were carried out in the north of Gaza in the first 11 days of 2024, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the embattled Gaza Strip said on Friday.

Israeli authorities rejected several scheduled deliveries to replenish medicine and supplies in Gaza City, the UN office said.

Other convoys, meant to deliver food, drinking water and other vital supplies as well as medicines, failed to pass. They were held up for too long at Israeli checkpoints or because agreed routes could not be utilized.

According to OCHA, the hospitals in the north therefore do not have enough material to care for the sick and injured.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 300,000 to 400,000 people are still living in the north of Gaza, after most of the population fled to the south following the onset of Israel’s military campaign.

“Every day of assistance missed results in lost lives and suffering for hundreds of thousands of people who remain in northern Gaza,” OCHA said.

The UN office also warned of potential unrest due to the lack of humanitarian aid arriving in Gaza.

The few UN convoys that arrived in the north of Gaza were stopped and cleared out directly behind the checkpoint, an OCHA representative said on Friday.

“It is a situation of desperation that you can feel,” Andrea De Domenico, the local OCHA chief, said.

He emphasized that people were not aggressive, but are starving and urgently need more help. “This tension will increase if we do not scale up our operations,” he added.

UN employees that had travelled to the north of Gaza this week reported seeing bodies lying on the road behind Israeli checkpoints.

The UN official spoke of a “level of inhumanity beyond comprehension.”

Too many convoys are being blocked by the Israeli authorities, especially fuel deliveries to hospitals, De Domenico said. Israel fears that fuel deliveries could end up in the hands of Hamas and be used for attacks on Israel.

Israel has hit Gaza with massive airstrikes and launched a ground offensive into the Palestinian coastal area after terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups carried out the worst massacres in Israel’s history on October 7, killing some 1,200 people.

According to the Hamas-controlled health authorities in Gaza, 23,708 people have been killed in the sealed-off coastal strip since the beginning of the Israeli campaign. Some 60,000 are said to have been injured.

It is not possible to independently verify the figures.

According to the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF, at least 70,000 children are now suffering from diarrhoea because of the devastating hygiene conditions in Gaza. Without treatment, this can be life-threatening for small children. Some 135,000 minors are at risk of acute malnutrition, said Lucia Elmi, UNICEF representative in the Palestinian Territories.

Meanwhile telecommunications services went down again on Friday, according to provider Paltel.

“We regret to announce that all telecom services in Gaza Strip have been lost due to the ongoing aggression,” Paltel posted on X, formerly Twitter. “Gaza is blacked out again.”

Since the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas, communication networks in Gaza have failed several times.

Meanwhile on Friday in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces shot and killed three militant Palestinians, the army said on Friday evening.

The trio had entered the Jewish settlement of Adora and opened fire on an army patrol there. The Israeli soldiers then returned fire, the IDF said. The intruders were armed with firearms, axes, knives and incendiary devices. A 34-year-old Israeli was injured in the armed confrontation.

The Chalil al-Rahman Brigade, an offshoot of the al-Aqsa Brigades, claimed responsibility for the attack on the settlement.

The al-Aqsa Brigades are seen as close to the Fatah party, which is the dominant Palestinian political force in the West Bank.

In a statement, Chalil al-Rahman threatened further attacks on Israeli settlements.

Tensions in the Israeli-occupied West Bank have intensified since the start of the Gaza war. Palestinians complain of increased violence by Jewish settlers targeting their villages and olive groves. The Israeli military at the same time has stepped up its operations against suspected militants in Palestinian cities.

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