Geneva, 21 October 2023 (TDI): UN Secretary-General António Guterres passionately advocated for this cause in front of the Rafah crossing gates, emphasizing the urgency of getting life-saving aid to the two million people trapped in Gaza.

UN humanitarians stated on Friday that they are close to reaching an agreement to facilitate aid deliveries through the Gaza border.

Guterres pointed out the stark contrast between the dire situation inside Gaza, where people lack essential resources like water, food, medicine, and fuel while being exposed to conflict, and the convoy of trucks just a few meters away, carrying the same life-saving supplies.

He stressed the importance of swiftly moving these aid convoys across the border to ensure the survival of many in Gaza.

The UN is actively engaged in discussions with all parties involved regarding the conditions for cross-border aid deliveries, based on recent announcements from Israel, the United States, and Egypt.

Their primary goal is to authorize a meaningful number of convoys to enter Gaza daily and provide crucial support to the people in need.

Guterres underscored the urgent need to address these issues promptly and reiterated his appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire.

He expressed gratitude to Egypt and humanitarian partners for their efforts in this critical endeavor, all the while hoping for a peaceful resolution based on the two-State solution for Israelis and Palestinians.

The UN chief arrived on a cargo plane carrying 65 tons of humanitarian supplies, including food from the World Food Program, tarpaulins from the UN migration agency IOM, and trauma kits from the World Health Organization.

In Geneva, the UN’s humanitarian affairs coordination office (OCHA) spokesperson, Jens Laerke, conveyed that they are in advanced negotiations with relevant parties to ensure the prompt start of an aid operation into Gaza, emphasizing the necessity of the right conditions.

They expressed encouragement that different sides are nearing an agreement on operational modalities and expect the first delivery to begin within the next day or so.

The Rafah border crossing serves as a crucial lifeline to reach those in need in Gaza directly.

While discussions are ongoing regarding the limited scope of the initial operation, it is emphasized that even a partial aid delivery is better than none. Additionally, Gaza faces an electricity blackout, and the urgent need for fuel is highlighted as a life-saving commodity in this crisis.

Also read: UN expresses concern for worsening Gaza Humanitarian Crisis

After 13 days of hostilities, OCHA reported that the death toll in the Gaza Strip has risen to 3,785, including a significant number of children, with many more believed to be trapped under the rubble due to relentless bombardments.

In Israel, since October 7, 1,400 people have been killed and over 4,600 injured. Hostages are held captive in Gaza, with calls for their immediate release.

The UN human rights office expressed concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in the West Bank, emphasizing the need for all parties to adhere to international human rights and humanitarian laws during hostilities.

In Gaza, rescue teams are grappling with challenges in carrying out their mission due to ongoing airstrikes, fuel shortages, and communication issues.

Hospitals are overwhelmed, and patients are awaiting treatment, particularly in Gaza’s only chemotherapy hospital.

With numerous housing units destroyed or damaged, gender equality agency UN Women estimates that nearly 493,000 women and girls have been displaced from their homes in Gaza.

Furthermore, an increasing number of widows have emerged as a result of the violence.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) reported an incident near the Lebanon-Israel border, involving individuals stranded during an exchange of fire.

UNIFIL facilitated a ceasefire, but regrettably, one individual lost their life during the incident, while the others were successfully rescued.