Israel’s relentless attacks have adding to a long list of tragedies faced by the local population.
Humanitarian aid that has entered Gaza since October 21 has barely scratched the surface of the Strip’s needs, covering only 3% of the essential requirements, a top UNRWA official said.
“The humanitarian aid income is equivalent to only 3% of the needs of the population of the Gaza Strip,” UNRWA Media Advisor in Gaza, Adnan Abu Hasna, told Al Araby.
The comments on Sunday came on day 35 of the Israeli aggression on Gaza, in which at least 11,200 Palestinians, including more than 4,500 children have been killed. The relentless attacks have adding to a long list of tragedies faced by the local population, which has faced an Israeli siege that has largely cut off all water, electricity and crucial medical and food supplies since October 8.
So far, a total of 756 trucks have managed to enter Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, bringing in vital supplies such as food, water, and health essentials, but no fuel. However, this number is significantly lower than the pre-siege period, where an average of more than 400 trucks were entering Gaza daily.
According to aid officials, the current situation demands at least 100 truckloads of aid per day to address the escalating humanitarian needs, and a minimum of 150 trucks daily to provide what they describe as “survival humanitarian assistance.”
Additionally, Israeli occupation forces have attacked convoys of aid. Last week, a number of Red Cross trucks carrying aid to hospitals in Gaza were attacked en route.
Following the 2008–2009 war, an international conference pledged close to US$4.5 billion in aid for Gaza’s humanitarian and reconstruction needs.
However, the current aid situation pales in comparison, with the received assistance being grossly inadequate for the growing needs of Gaza’s population, which has seen more than a 50% increase since the Israeli-Egyptian imposed blockade began in 2007.
Historically, Gaza has been a focal point of international aid.
From 2014 to 2020, UN agencies alone spent close to $4.5 billion in the region, including a substantial $600 million in 2020.
The total aid to Palestinians from 1994 to 2020 exceeded $40 billion. However, the current aid scenario is starkly different, with severe shortages in basic necessities and an acute lack of adequate assistance under the present challenging conditions.
In a statement this week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinians, which is deemed illegal under international humanitarian law.
“You cannot use the horrific things that Hamas did as a reason for collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” Guterres told CNN in an interview.
The occupying state has intensified attacks against health facilities and medics on the ground have confirmed Israeli tanks and soldiers have been shooting at civilians attempting to flee hospitals, despite carrying white flags.
On Sunday, a harrowing Al Jazeera Mubasher report citing the director of the Ministry of Health in Gaza as saying: “Dogs entered Al-Shifa Hospital and mauled the bodies of the deceased.”
“The hospital turned into a large morgue and more than 100 bodies were dumped on the ground,” the ministry added.
Israel’s relentless bombardment has now pushed 20 of 36 hospitals in the Strip “out of service,” according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the health sector has collapsed.
On Saturday, reports confirmed two out of 39 premature babies who were kept alive in incubators died due to the absence of oxygen and electricity.
“Israel’s claims that we refused to receive fuel are misleading and have no basis. The medical staff at Al-Shifa live on water and dates,” the health ministry added.
Meanwhile, the UN reported the most casualties in the history of the organisation after confirming the killing of 101 Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA) staff in Gaza.
Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, described the loss of over 100 colleagues, including parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, and support staff, as devastating.