Gaza’s Cry for Help: Humanitarian Crisis Deepens in Ongoing Conflict
Gaza, October 17, 2023 – The Gaza Strip, a densely populated region home to approximately 2 million people, continues to face a dire humanitarian crisis as the conflict between Israel and the militant group Hamas escalates.
Escalating Death Toll and Injuries
Since the outbreak of hostilities following a terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel on October 7, the situation in Gaza has worsened. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reports that at least 2,778 people have lost their lives, with 9,938 others sustaining injuries. Tragically, this includes 371 families who have lost loved ones. In Israel, the conflict has resulted in the deaths of at least 1,400 people and injuries to 3,400.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has sounded the alarm about the dwindling resources in Gaza. The territory is running out of body bags, and access to clean water is becoming increasingly scarce. Furthermore, Gaza has been without electricity, exacerbating the dire circumstances for its residents.
Evacuation Orders and Consequences
On October 13, the Israeli military issued evacuation orders for 1.1 million residents in the northern part of Gaza, raising concerns about an impending ground operation. Unfortunately, a convoy of evacuees came under attack while moving from Northern Gaza to central Gaza, leading to the loss of 70 lives and injuries to 200 individuals. The blame game ensued, with Hamas accusing Israel, and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) denying responsibility.
Overcrowded Hospitals and Critical Patients
Healthcare facilities in Gaza are overwhelmed. The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed deep concern about Israel’s evacuation orders for 22 hospitals treating more than 2,000 inpatients in northern Gaza. Moving patients to already crowded facilities in southern Gaza could endanger lives, particularly those of critically injured individuals, including newborns in incubators and patients on life support.
Worsening Humanitarian Crisis
As the conflict persists, Gaza faces a severe humanitarian crisis. Access to essential resources like food, clean water, and electricity has been severely restricted. Philippe Lazzarini, the UNRWA Commissioner-General, emphasized the catastrophic conditions in Gaza, where the blockade has been in effect since 2007, with the situation deteriorating further after the recent events.
International Aid Hindered
Humanitarian aid stands ready at the Egyptian border, but access to Gaza remains blocked due to ongoing attacks. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is pre-positioning supplies in Egypt, including medicine and household kits for families. However, access, safety, and supplies are crucial prerequisites for addressing the dire needs of Gaza’s communities.
The international community watches with growing concern as the crisis in Gaza deepens, with a call for urgent action to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population and seek a resolution to the ongoing conflict.