UN Warns of Food Scarcity & Looming Crisis #Gaza

The First Minister of Scotland , Humza Yousaf, has joined with others in the international community to call for an ‘immediate ceasefire to allow the safe passage of civilians through the Rafah border.’

The United Nations is working on the ground in Gaza. It reports that a complete blockade of food, water, and vital services was put in place by Israel as reports emerged of Israeli ground operations in Gaza, which is home to more than two million people.

collapsed buildings in Gaza
© UNRWA/Mohammed Hinnawi A building collapsed into the street in Gaza.

While UN offices in Gaza sustained “significant damage” from nearby airstrikes on Monday night, agencies were striving to help the affected population there and elsewhere, including the West Bank, home to 871,000 registered refugees.

The UN relief agency for Palestine refugees, UNWRA, currently has 13,000 national and international staff, most of them refugees themselves, in Gaza and nearly 4,000 in the West Bank.

In addition, hundreds of employees continued working for other UN agencies.

Along the restive Israel-Lebanon border, the UN peacekeeping mission there, UNIFIL, is operating with 9,400 ground troops, 900 civilian staff, and 850 naval personnel on its Maritime Task Force.

In his letter to the UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, James Cleverly, Humza Yousaf states:

Israel’s announced blockade of food, water, fuel, and electricity in Gaza on Monday came as UN agencies warned of food scarcity and a looming crisis. Mobile toilets and showers are being deployed to UNRWA shelters, as needed. Palestinians in Gaza now only have electricity for three to four hours per day, hindering the ability of health facilities to function and treat those injured, according to the UN humanitarian coordination agency, OCHA

Emergency healthcare services were being offered through the toll-free hotline continued across Gaza. The UN’s country-based pooled funds (CBPF) and its partners released life-saving trauma and emergency drugs and medical supplies to enable the health system in Gaza to respond to rising needs. A total of 125 health staff are working in rotating shifts at UNRWA health centres, with 15 out of 22 clinics providing primary healthcare services from 9 am to 12 pm to patients with urgent referred appointments received through a free-toll hotline.

Relief and social services helplines were operational as of Tuesday, and psychosocial support and psychological first aid were being provided remotely. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had psychosocial support experts ready to provide assistance to those who needed it in Gaza and in the West Bank. “The community is appealing to UNRWA to open the closed health centres due to the high demand for services,” the agency said.

The World Health Organization (WHO), other UN agencies, and partners continued to work towards establishing a corridor to reach people with critical supplies in Gaza.

a series of images showing he damaged UN buildings in Gaza
© UNRWA A building housing the UNRWA headquarters in Gaza City sustains significant damage following nearby airstrikes.

Fiona Grahame

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