13 June 2024

Gaza in Dire Straits: “Running Out of Life” Warns UN Agency

 Gaza in Dire Straits: “Running Out of Life” Warns UN Agency

The Gaza Strip is currently facing a dire humanitarian crisis, as a United Nations agency has issued a stark warning that it is “running out of life.” The ongoing conflict in the region, coupled with a siege imposed by Israel, has left the Palestinian population with rapidly diminishing supplies of food, water, and medicine. This situation has raised concerns globally about the fate of the people in this besieged enclave.

Israel’s decision to cut off vital supplies to Gaza and its order for residents to relocate south in anticipation of an impending ground assault have exacerbated the situation. The conflict escalated when Hamas, which controls Gaza, launched attacks on Israeli villages, farms, and military outposts, resulting in a devastating toll on both sides. This deadly assault primarily targeted civilians and has left over 1,300 people dead, deepening the suffering in Gaza.

Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the East, expressed his concern, stating, “In fact, Gaza is being strangled, and it seems the world right now has lost its humanity. If we look at the issue of water, we all know water is life. Gaza is running out of water, and Gaza is running out of life.”

The situation has further worsened, with Lazzarini warning, “Soon, I believe, with this, there will be no food or medicine either.”

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza reached a critical point when Israel initiated a “complete siege” and vowed to halt the supplies of food, water, and electricity. Gaza has been incessantly bombarded, with Palestinian officials reporting that Sunday’s airstrikes alone claimed the lives of 450 people.

The Gaza Health Ministry revealed that at least 2,670 Palestinians have died in the ongoing conflict, with another 9,600 sustaining injuries. This death toll has surpassed that of the 2014 Gaza war, marking it as the deadliest of the five Gaza wars on both sides. The suffering in Gaza continues to mount as essential aid has been stalled at the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt, leaving thousands in need.

Philippe Lazzarini emphasized the severity of the situation, saying, “There is not one drop of water, not one grain of wheat, not a liter of fuel that has been allowed into the Gaza Strip for the last eight days. The number of people seeking shelter in our schools and other UNRWA facilities in the south is absolutely overwhelming, and we do not have the capacity to deal with them.”

Lazzarini further pointed out that U.N. agencies are no longer able to provide the necessary humanitarian assistance, labeling the situation as an “unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.”

In addition, Gaza’s hospitals are teetering on the brink of collapse as they struggle to treat the thousands of injured Palestinians. Running out of generator fuel in the next 24 hours, these facilities are facing dire circumstances, exacerbated by the shutdown of Gaza’s sole power plant.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced from their homes over the past week, further adding to the humanitarian crisis. In a distressing development, Israel forces recently ordered approximately 1.1 million Palestinians, nearly half of the territory’s population, to evacuate Gaza City and its surrounding areas in anticipation of an expected ground invasion in the north.

Meanwhile, Hamas is reportedly urging residents to remain in their homes, adding complexity to the situation.

Palestinians flee their homes to take shelter at the United Nations school in Gaza City, on Sunday. Israel has dropped leaflets warning residents to leave ahead of stepped up fighting.

The conflict has not only taken a heavy toll on the Palestinian side but has also affected Israelis. The Associated Press reported that over 1,400 Israelis have lost their lives in the conflict, with at least 199 people being held hostage in Gaza.

The situation in Gaza remains a matter of grave concern to the international community. Urgent diplomatic efforts are required to bring an end to this cycle of violence and suffering and to provide the much-needed relief to the people of Gaza who are truly “running out of life.”

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