The UN temporarily halted food distribution to Rafah due to shortages and conflict

AFP file photo shows displaced Palestinian children carrying food containers in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip (May 19, 2024)AFP

Unrwa said food warehouses and distribution centers in eastern Rafah were inaccessible due to Israeli military activity.

Food distribution in the southern Gaza city of Rafah has been suspended due to supply shortages and insecurity, the United Nations said.

The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, warns that the World Food Program distribution center and warehouse are currently inaccessible due to ongoing Israeli military operations against Hamas in east of Rafah.

At least 815,000 of the more than one million refugees in Rafah have fled since the Israeli campaign began two weeks ago.

Unrwa also said its health centers have not received any medical supplies in the past 10 days.

The news came as the US said it did not believe any aid brought into northern Gaza via a newly completed floating dock had been distributed to Palestinians by humanitarian organizations.

On Saturday, crowds of Palestinians in need of food blocked several WFP trucks transporting aid from the dock, forcing the agency to suspend deliveries until new routes were identified.

Israel launched a military operation to destroy Hamas in response to the group’s cross-border attack on southern Israel on October 7, which left about 1,200 people dead and 252 others taken hostage. .

According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, more than 35,640 people have been killed in Gaza since then.

After seven months of war in Gaza, Israel insists it cannot win without capturing Rafah and destroying the last remaining Hamas battalions there.

But the United Nations and Western powers have warned that an all-out attack could lead to mass civilian casualties and a humanitarian disaster.

On May 6, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) ordered residents in eastern Rafah to evacuate for their own safety before beginning what they called “precision operations” against of Hamas facilities and infrastructure.

Since then, the army has advanced into central areas and taken control of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt. The border crossing remains closed, while the United Nations says the nearby Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel is too dangerous to access.

On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced that the country is “committed to expanding ground operations in Rafah.”

Unrwa said in a report on Tuesday that they were forced to temporarily suspend food distribution because Israeli operations made WFP’s distribution center and warehouse inaccessible.

Asked about the ramifications, United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York: “People are not eating.”

It is unclear how many people are still living in the Rafah area. But the Unwa chief implied the number was more than 800,000 on Sunday, when he said “almost half the population is on the road”.

The IDF asked them to head to an “extended humanitarian zone” stretching from nearby al-Mawasi to the central town of Deir al-Balah and said they would find field hospitals, tents, food products and other supplies.

However, the United Nations said nowhere was safe in Gaza and that the designated area was packed with people and had no clean drinking water supply or sanitation facilities.

The IDF said Tuesday that its soldiers were continuing “targeted attacks on… terrorist infrastructure and buildings” in eastern Rafah, and that they had “eliminated dozens of terrorist” trying to reach them.

Another statement said it was facilitating the passage of “hundreds of trucks carrying food, water, medical supplies and shelter equipment” across Gaza.

It reported that 381 aid trucks were delivered through Kerem Shalom on Tuesday and another 70 entered northern Gaza through the Erez West border crossing. But they also noted that 650 trucks were still waiting to be collected by aid agencies at two crossings.

In addition to saying that Kerem Shalom is difficult to reach safely, the United Nations also noted that areas neighboring Erez West are under another Israeli evacuation order.

Map showing access restrictions in the Gaza Strip (May 16, 2024)

A United Nations-backed assessment published in March warned that 1.1 million people in Gaza were facing catastrophic levels of hunger and that famine was imminent in May in northern Gaza. , where an estimated 300,000 people are trapped.

No official declaration of famine has been made, but WFP executive director Cindy McCain said earlier this month that “famine is spreading in the North and is moving south.”

On Friday, the first aid truck rolled off the US military’s floating dock southwest of Gaza City, which US officials said would “increase humanitarian assistance”.

US Central Command announced it early on Tuesday that 569 tons of aid had been delivered by cargo ships departing from Cyprus.

But later in the day, Pentagon Press Secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters in Washington that none of those supplies have yet been distributed by humanitarian organizations.

Mr. Dujarric said contractors on Friday were able to drive 10 aid trucks from the dock to the WFP warehouse in the central town of Deir al-Balah. But the next day, 11 of the 16 departing trucks were stopped by hungry crowds.

“These trucks are going through areas where there is no aid. I think people are afraid they will never see aid. They grabbed what they could,” Mr. Dujarric said.

General Ryder said there had been discussions between the US, Israel and the United Nations “to identify alternative routes for the safe movement of personnel and goods”.

“Of course, we anticipate that support will be distributed in the coming days, if conditions allow,” he added.

Meanwhile, The head of the World Health Organization warned that the largest partially functional hospital in northern Gaza was believed to have been attacked four times on battles raged between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in the nearby Jabalia area.

The IDF said it was looking into reports from doctors at Kamal Adwan hospital in Beit Lahia that their emergency department was hit by Israeli missiles, forcing them to take patients in hospital beds into a street. outside.

WHO also said al-Awda hospital in Jabalia has been under siege since Sunday, with staff, patients and those traveling with them trapped inside.

Tens of thousands of civilians have fled Jabalia since May 11, when the IDF said it would re-enter the area because Hamas had regrouped there.


News 7F: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button