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November 7, 2023 1:43 PM IST

UN urges expanded aid to Gaza to avoid exacerbated humanitarian disaster

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Monday called for an expansion of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip once again to prevent an even larger humanitarian disaster amidst the escalating Israel-Hamas conflict.

According to the UNRWA spokesperson, the current aid allowed into the Gaza Strip represents a mere six percent of the previous daily supplies. The absence of fuel for the past month has resulted in severely low fuel reserves for the agency, thereby posing a significant obstacle to essential humanitarian operations, as fuel is indispensable for such operations.

The spokesperson also stated that efforts are underway to broaden the “humanitarian supply route” through Egypt in order to expand aid access to Gaza. Furthermore, the agency is exploring alternative land routes to facilitate the delivery of increased humanitarian supplies, including essential fuel, to the Gaza Strip.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society said on Monday that since October 21, when its humanitarian aid was allowed to enter Gaza, only 476 trucks have arrived in the region, averaging about 30 per day.

According to a report from the UN on Monday, the UNRWA-operated shelters in the Gaza Strip have reported numerous cases of acute respiratory infections, skin infections, diarrhea, and chickenpox. The refugee shelters are currently grappling with severe overcrowding and enduring extremely difficult living conditions.

On the same day, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that the Gaza Strip is facing a serious water crisis, particularly in the northern areas. The situation has raised concerns about the potential of disease outbreaks stemming from dehydration and the utilization of unsafe water sources.


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