HomeUnited NationsIsrael continues to block aid into northern Gaza amid famine

Israel continues to block aid into northern Gaza amid famine

“Hospitals must be respected and protected; they must not be used as battlefields,” he said.“UNRWA is the backbone of the humanitarian operation in Gaza. Any effort to distribute aid without them is simply doomed to fail.”The World Health Organization (WHO) chief reported at the weekend that at least four people were killed and 17 injured after an Israeli airstrike hit Al-Aqsa Hospital in middle area of the Gaza Strip.© UNICEF/Eyad El Baba

Battlefields across the Strip

According to the UN humanitarian coordination office, OCHA, since 1 March, 30 per cent of humanitarian aid missions to northern Gaza have been denied by Israeli authorities.This comes alongside ever louder calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and for Israel to comply with both a Security Council resolution for a cessation of hostilities during Ramadan, which ends on 10 April, and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) orders last Friday, asking the country to respect its obligations as a signatory of the Genocide Convention and open border crossings to allow sufficient aid into the enclave.More than a dozen Palestinians have been killed related to airdrops by multiple nations who are trying to deliver desperately needed aid in the face of Israel’s slow walking food shipments at border crossings into Gaza, according to news reports. UNRWA is disproportionately impacted, with Israeli authorities continuing to deny the agency access to northern Gaza to deliver emergency food assistance since announcing last week that it would no longer approve these shipments.“Without a ceasefire and full access, lives are at risk,” the UN agency said.

People carry their possessions through Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.
In its latest situation report, the specialist UN Palestine relief agency UNRWA said Israeli Security Forces (ISF) continued military operations across the Gaza Strip, resulting in further civilian casualties, displacement and destruction of houses and other civilian infrastructure.

Israeli attacks have killed more than 32,000 people in Gaza since the war began in October, according to the health ministry there, following a Hamas-led incursion into Israel that left almost 1,200 dead and more than 240 taken hostage.

Aid access impeded

“We urge parties to comply with the UN Security Council resolution and ceasefire!”

People carry their possessions through Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is providing desperately needed food to 1.45 million people in Gaza, but says “it’s not enough.”

Al-Shifa Hospital in the north of Gaza lies in ruins.The WHO chief spoke out against the Israeli siege of Al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza. The two-week-long military operation left many dead and injured, according to media reports.Access impediments continue to severely compromise the ability of humanitarians to reach people in Gaza, UNRWA said.There has been no significant change in the volume of humanitarian supplies entering Gaza or improved access to the north, UNRWA reported, noting that from 1 to 30 March, a daily average of 159 aid trucks have crossed into Gaza per day.

‘Attempts to sideline UNWRA must stop’

He called for an immediate end to the hostilities.“No place is safe in #GazaStrip. This is a war on children. On their childhood and their future. Ceasefire now,” UNRWA posted on social media.“We again call for protection of patients, health personnel and humanitarian missions,” he urged. “The ongoing attacks and militarisation of hospitals must stop. International humanitarian law must be respected.”

Al-Shifa Hospital in the north of Gaza lies in ruins.
Before the war, about 700 delivery trucks entered Gaza daily.

Airstrikes and bombardment continued in north Gaza, Khan Younis and Rafah, where UNRWA estimates a total of 1.2 million people are now living, the vast majority in formal and informal shelters, the UN agency reported.

Hospitals must be protected: Tedros

Over 100 UNRWA schools have been directly or indirectly hit, with some being severely damaged. Many have been used as shelters for displaced families since the war began.“Attempts to sideline UNRWA must stop,” he said.“WHO staff are all accounted for,” he explained, adding that the team was at the hospital assessing the needs and collecting incubators to be sent to the north of Gaza.At the same time, reports from UN agencies on the ground in Gaza indicate a continuation of airstrikes and attacks.© UNICEF/Sonia SilvaThe “WHO team was on a humanitarian mission at Al-Aqsa Hospital in Gaza, when a tent camp inside the hospital compound was hit by an Israeli airstrike on Sunday,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a social media post.The victims reportedly either died by drowning while trying to retrieve food packages from the sea or were fatally struck by falling boxes of aid.UN Emergency Humanitarian Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths slammed any efforts to limit UNRWA’s lifesaving work, which is mandated by the UN General Assembly.

More to come…

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