Unbearable to watch, the disaster unfolding in Gaza, is a cruelty beyond the comprehension of all those who seek a peaceful solution.
Humanitarians expressed deep concern on Friday for all civilians in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s order for the entire population there to leave the north, amid ongoing airstrikes and a deepening crisis. The UN chief told reporters outside the Security Council the world had to unite around the principle of protecting civilians and “finding a lasting solution to this unending cycle of death and destruction.”
In a candid interview with Channel 4 News, First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, expressed how helpless he felt with his wife’s parents still in Gaza. He said that since writing to James Cleverly, UK Foreign Secretary, he has had no response from the Minister about the safety of Scottish and all UK citizens still in Gaza.
The Scottish Government will be providing £500,000 towards the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) flash appeal in response to the ongoing escalation in the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, the UN launched a flash appeal for $294 million for 77 humanitarian partners to address the most urgent needs of 1.26 million people in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.
The UNRWA’s appeal is urgently seeking funds to respond to the immediate food, health, shelter and protection needs of up to 250,000 people seeking safety in UNRWA shelters in Gaza and another 250,000 Palestine refugees within the community.
UNRWA Director of External Relations and Communications Tamara Alrifai said:
“This generous contribution is an incredibly humane gesture towards tens of thousands of people who are in utter distress in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA is very grateful for the show of support by Scotland and will use every penny to help alleviate the suffering of civilian women, children and men in Gaza.”
Some 1.1 million people would be expected to leave northern Gaza. The UN considers it “impossible” for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences and appeals for the Israeli Government’s order to be rescinded.
The UN also reiterated its calls for the immediate release of hostages held in Gaza following Hamas’s deadly Saturday attack on Israel, and for the protection of civilians and urgent aid access to the sealed-off enclave.
Briefing reporters in Geneva, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson James Elder regretted that the humanitarian situation has now reached “lethal lows”.
He highlighted that the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places on the planet and people, including hundreds of thousands of children, who are finding themselves “with nowhere safe to go”.
OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke also underscored the impossibility of a relocation, asking, “in the middle of a war zone where people are already at the end of the rope, how is that going to happen?”
Six of the seven main hospitals in Gaza are only partially functioning. As of Thursday 34 attacks on health care in the Gaza Strip had been confirmed since the beginning of the current offensive resulting in the deaths of 11 health care workers on duty. The Gaza Emergency Operation Centre, supported by WHO, has sustained heavy damages.
UN chief António Guterres said the situation in Gaza “has reached a dangerous new low.”