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Aid is 'completely paralyzed' in Gaza, UN warns

Photo: Agence France-Presse A satellite view shows Israeli army vehicles gathering in southern Israel on May 3, 2024, near the Kerem Shalom border, which is the main entry point for humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

Nina Larson – Agence France-Presse in Jerusalem

Published and updated on May 9

  • Middle East

Israel's closure of key crossing points into the Gaza Strip has cut off key floodgates for aid, fuel in particular, making humanitarian operations virtually impossible, warned a senior UN official on Thursday.

“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. occupied.

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

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

Although Israel claims to have reopened Kerem Shalom on Wednesday, Andrea De Domenico believes that the transport aid remains “extremely difficult”.

It is unimaginable that we would force human beings to go through such a horrible and inhumane experience. It's a disaster.

— Andrea de Domenico, head of the office of the United Nations humanitarian agency (OCHA)

“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 war zones] ?,” says Mr. De Domenico. “They know we just can’t go.” »

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.

War has broken out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack against Israel, which resulted in the death of more than 1,170 people, according to an AFP report based on official Israeli data.

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, launching an offensive which has so far left 34,904 dead, mostly civilians, according to the Islamist movement's Ministry of Health.< /p>

“It’s a disaster”

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, 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.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip only had “three days of fuel”.

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.”< /p>

“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.< /p>

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.

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

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

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

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116