Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

A first, but limited,
shipment of life-saving humanitarian supplies from the United Nations and
the Egyptian Red Crescent entered Gaza today on 20 trucks, passing through the Rafah Crossing.

It will provide an urgently needed lifeline to some of the hundreds
of thousands of civilians, mostly women and children, who have been cut off
from water, food, medicine, fuel  and other essentials. But it is only a small beginning and far from enough. More than 1.6
million people in Gaza are in critical need of humanitarian aid. Children,
pregnant women and the elderly remain the most vulnerable. Nearly half of
Gaza’s population are children.

With so much civilian infrastructure in Gaza damaged or destroyed in
nearly two weeks of constant bombings, including shelters, health facilities,
water, sanitation, and electrical systems, time is running out before mortality
rates could skyrocket due to disease outbreaks and lack of health-care
capacity. 

Hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties. Civilians face mounting
challenges in accessing essential food supplies. Health facilities no
longer have fuel and are running on small amounts they have secured locally.
These are expected to run out in the next day or so. Water production capacity
is at 5 per cent of normal levels. Pre-positioned humanitarian supplies have
already been depleted. Vulnerable people are at greatest risk and children are dying at an alarming rate and being denied their right to protection, food, water and health care. 

Nearly
one-third of the population of Palestine was food insecure before this conflict
in Gaza. Today stocks in shops are nearly exhausted and bakeries are closing,
while tens of thousands of people are displaced and unable to cook or safely
purchase food. 

We call for a humanitarian ceasefire, along with immediate,
unrestricted humanitarian access throughout Gaza to allow
humanitarian actors to reach civilians in need, save lives and prevent further
human suffering. Flows of humanitarian aid must be at scale and sustained, and allow all Gazans to preserve their dignity.

We call for safe and sustained access to water, food, health – including sexual and reproductive health – and fuel, which is necessary to enable essential services.

We call for the protection of all civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, including health-care facilities.

We call for the protection of humanitarian workers in Gaza who are risking their lives in the service of others. 

And we call for the utmost respect of international humanitarian law by all parties.

Gaza was a desperate humanitarian situation before the most recent
hostilities. It is now catastrophic. The world must do more.

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The post Joint statement by UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP and WHO on humanitarian supplies crossing into Gaza appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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