The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has raised alarms over the Israeli authorities’ repeated refusals to allow UN aid teams into Gaza. The blockade has led to a dire situation where five hospitals in the north are deprived of essential medical supplies and equipment.
Despite multiple requests since December 26, teams have been unable to reach critical facilities like the Central Drug Store in Gaza City and Al Awda Hospital in Jabalya.
Recent intensifications in bombing and clashes across the Gaza Strip have worsened the crisis. OCHA highlighted the severe consequences of denying fuel delivery to water and sanitation facilities, leaving thousands without clean water and increasing the risk of communicable diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 15 out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional, affecting healthcare provision for approximately 500,000 people.
The situation has been exacerbated by continuous Israeli bombardment, particularly in central and southern areas like Deir al Balah and Khan Younis. Palestinian armed groups’ rocket fire into Israel and ongoing clashes have led to significant civilian casualties and infrastructure damage. OCHA reports a high number of Palestinian fatalities and injuries, with over 23,210 killed and 59,167 injured since the conflict began.
Displacement and Overcrowding
The conflict has forced many civilians to flee Gaza City and northern areas, seeking refuge in central and southern parts of the Strip. Tragic incidents, like the death of a five-year-old child in a Medecins Sans Frontières (MSF) shelter, underscore the devastating impact on civilians. The overcrowding in areas like Rafah, which now hosts over a million people, poses a grave risk of disease spread.
Israeli military reports indicate significant casualties among their forces, with 183 soldiers killed and over 1,065 injured. Meanwhile, Israeli evacuation orders have led to further civilian displacement in Gaza.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) faces overwhelming challenges in addressing the escalating needs amidst the violence. Nearly 85% of Gaza’s population is now displaced, and UNRWA shelters are operating beyond capacity. The agency also reports direct hits to its installations, with substantial casualties among the displaced population.
As the conflict continues, the urgent need for humanitarian access remains critical. The UN and its partners strive to relieve the affected population despite the immense challenges of the ongoing hostilities and restrictions.
In summary, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has reached alarming proportions, with Israeli authorities’ blockades severely impacting healthcare and basic needs. The international community needs urgent intervention to facilitate humanitarian access and provide relief to the millions affected by this escalating conflict.