The United Nations said that 1.87 million people – more than 80 percent of Gaza’s population – have been expelled from their homes since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, which broke out after Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel.
On Tuesday, the Israeli army entered Khan Yunis, Gaza’s second-largest city, in its quest to eliminate Hamas’s rulers in the Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the army must maintain security control over the Gaza Strip after the end of the war.
About 1,200 people were killed on the Israeli side, most of them civilians, during the Hamas attack on October 7.
The Ministry of Health in Gaza said that the death toll in the Strip exceeded 16,200, in addition to more than 42,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between dead civilians and combatants, but said that 70 percent of them were women and children.
Warning of a potential humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza
UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged the UN Security Council to use its influence to avoid a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.
He said on Wednesday that the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian system now faces the risk of complete collapse.
He reiterated his urgent call for a ceasefire for humanitarian reasons. He warned that Israel’s bombing of Palestinians in Gaza, who have no shelter or the necessities for survival, would soon lead to a complete collapse of public order.
For his part, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, called on the international community to immediately press “with one voice” for a ceasefire in Gaza as the plight of civilians worsens.
Turk said at a press conference in Geneva: “The Palestinians in Gaza are living in absolute and profound terror… As an immediate step, I call for an urgent cessation of hostilities and the release of all hostages.”
He added: “The international community must insist with one voice on an immediate ceasefire, for reasons related to human rights and humanity.”
Countries offer to store aid in Cyprus for shipment to Gaza
The Cypriot government said that a number of countries have offered to store humanitarian aid in the eastern Mediterranean island country as part of a plan to ship aid to Gaza via a sea corridor.
Among these countries is the United Kingdom, which last week sent humanitarian aid that was stored in the port of Larnaca, from where ships will depart for Gaza as soon as conditions on the ground allow, government spokesman Konstantinos Letembiotis said on Wednesday.
He added that the United Kingdom also offered to use a ship with a shallow draft capable of approaching the Gaza coast, so that it could unload aid without the need for port facilities required by large ships.
Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said earlier this week that he held talks with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Jordanian King Abdullah II, who reaffirmed their support for the aid corridor. Israel also supported the plan, but has given no indication yet as to when aid might start flowing.
Limited humanitarian aid
The United Nations announced the delivery of only limited humanitarian aid to the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, due to intense fighting.
She said that all communications services were halted due to the interruption of the main fiber optic lines.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday that 100 aid trucks loaded with humanitarian supplies and 69,000 liters of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt on Monday, roughly the same amount that entered on Sunday.
“This is much less than the daily average of 170 trucks and 110,000 liters of fuel that entered Gaza during the truce,” Dujarric said.
Dujarric quoted Lynn Hastings, the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in the Palestinian Territories, as saying, “The shelters do not have capacity, the health system is in a state of stagnation, there is a shortage of clean drinking water, there is no proper sanitation, in addition to malnutrition.”
He reiterated that there are no safe places in Gaza, adding, “Even places that fly the United Nations flag are not safe either.”
He said that the main telecommunications company in Gaza announced the cessation of all its services on Monday evening.
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