Gaza Strip | Aid is ‘completely paralyzed’, UN warns

(Jerusalem) Israel’s closure of key crossing points into the Gaza Strip has cut off the main valves for the delivery of aid, fuel in particular, and made humanitarian operations virtually impossible, a senior official warned on Thursday. the UN.

“We have lost the main entry point for humanitarian aid,” says Kerem Shalom, in an interview with AFP, Andrea De Domenico, head of the office of the United Nations humanitarian agency (Ocha) in the Palestinian territories. busy.

On Sunday, Israel closed this key crossing point to the south of the small Palestinian coastal territory, after rocket fire claimed by the armed wing of Hamas killed four Israeli soldiers there.

The Israeli army then called on residents of eastern Rafah neighborhoods to evacuate, before taking control of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt from the Palestinian side and closing it as well.

Although Israel claims to have reopened Kerem Shalom on Wednesday, Andrea De Domenico says the delivery of aid remains “extremely difficult”.

“It’s crazy,” the Israelis “have tanks everywhere, troops on the ground, they are bombing the area east of Rafah and they want us to go get fuel or basic products” in these areas of war?, “They know that we simply cannot go there,” says Mr. De Domenico.


Strike on Rafah

The Rafah crossing, through which all fuel destined for Gaza passes, remains closed. However, “in Gaza, there are no fuel stocks”. This means that “there are no movements” and “this completely paralyzes humanitarian operations”, according to Mr. De Domenico.

This observation comes as the international community calls for increased aid to Gaza, where seven months of conflict have caused an acute humanitarian crisis.

The war broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack against Israel, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official data. Israelis.

More than 250 people have been kidnapped and 128 remain captive in Gaza, 36 of whom are considered dead, according to the army.

In response, Israel promised to annihilate Hamas, in power in Gaza since 2007, and launched an offensive which has so far left 34,904 dead, according to the Islamist movement’s Ministry of Health.


According to Mr. Domenico, even before the closure of the Rafah crossing, the United Nations had been looking for weeks for other means of transporting fuel into the territory, in a context of deep concern over the agitated prospect by Israel of a vast ground operation in the city of Rafah, which is home to 1.4 million people according to the UN.

Israel assured the UN that it was trying to find a solution, specifies Mr. De Domenico, but he very doubts that it will reach the necessary 200,000 liters per day.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip had only “three days of fuel left.”

Catherine Russell, director of UNICEF, the United Nations children’s agency, warned Thursday that if the fuel was not allowed in “the consequences would be felt almost immediately.”

“Incubators for premature babies will shut down, children and families will become dehydrated or consume “unsafe” water and “wasted time will soon turn into lost lives.”

Without new supplies, food aid stocks will run out and medical treatment for malnourished children risks being interrupted.

The UN estimates that around 80,000 people have fled eastern Rafah in recent days, after the Israeli order and intensified bombing.

Which means that “80,000 people probably need significant support,” underlines Mr. De Domenico.

The lack of fuel could also separate displaced families, especially children who risk getting lost: “without fuel, no antennas, no telecommunications,” he says.

The last remaining hospitals in a ruined Gaza Strip will also cease to function.

“It is unimaginable that we would force human beings to go through such a horrible and inhumane experience,” he said. ” It’s a disaster “.


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