Gaza, 21 October 2023 (TDI): The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) released a comprehensive situation report on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, following the recent armed conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Highlighting the situation on the ground the report states:
Over the past 72 hours, an additional 10 UNRWA staff members lost their lives, bringing the total to 63 colleagues who have been killed since October 7th.
Currently, there are 672,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) seeking refuge in 149 UNRWA facilities throughout the Gaza Strip, enduring increasingly dire circumstances.
The capacity to deliver life-saving aid has been further impeded by a 36-hour communication disruption affecting the entire Gaza Strip, including humanitarian organizations, from October 27th to the early hours of October 29th.
Given the limited assistance available and overwhelmed shelters, tensions among the displaced communities are escalating. There have been reports of break-ins at UNRWA warehouses and distribution centers, resulting in the theft of both food and non-food items.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini addressed the UN Security Council:
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini addressed the UN Security Council, expressing the profound sorrow felt across Israel, the occupied Palestinian territory, and the broader region during the past three weeks.
The shocking attacks by Hamas in Israel on 7 October and the relentless bombardments by Israeli Forces in Gaza have resulted in unprecedented destruction and an unbearable human tragedy.
Within this short period, one million people, half of Gaza’s population, were displaced from the north to the south. Lazzarini emphasized the grim reality that “no place is safe in Gaza.
Philippe Lazzarini expressed grave concern over the escalating crisis in Gaza. He emphasized the devastating impact on civilians, with nearly 70 percent of the reported casualties being children and women.
Save the Children’s recent report revealed a staggering toll, citing the deaths of almost 3,200 children in Gaza within a mere three weeks, surpassing the annual number of child casualties in conflict zones worldwide since 2019.
Lazzarini stressed that these losses cannot be dismissed as mere “collateral damage.” He highlighted the alarming situation where essential infrastructure such as churches, mosques, hospitals, and UNRWA facilities providing refuge to displaced individuals have not been spared.
Moreover, he condemned the ongoing siege on Gaza as a form of collective punishment, leading to the deterioration of basic services, and dwindling supplies of medicine, food, water, and fuel, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the region.