The “truce” is obstructed… and an American-Israeli dispute over Rafah

Displacement, hunger, and disease… Details of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, which was devastated by the war

The Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip displaced most of the Strip’s population, numbering 2.3 million people, and caused a stifling humanitarian crisis, including severe shortages of food, water and medicine.

Below are some important facts about the situation in the Gaza Strip:


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that about 1.7 million people, or more than 75 percent of the population, were displaced inside Gaza, and many of them were forced to be displaced more than once.

Last month, Israel intensified its bombing of the city of Rafah, located in the southern Gaza Strip on the border with Egypt. Where about 1.5 million people are crowded.

Most of the residents currently living in Rafah were displaced from their homes in the northern Gaza Strip, fleeing the Israeli military campaign that began following the attack launched by gunmen from the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on southern Israel on October 7.

Two Palestinian women pass near a building destroyed by the Israeli bombing on Rafah in the Gaza Strip (AFP)

Health and hospitals

The World Health Organization says most of the Strip’s 36 hospitals have stopped operating. She added that only 12 of these hospitals are partially functioning, 6 of which are in the north of the Gaza Strip and 6 in the south, while the “Al-Amal” Hospital in Khan Yunis is operating at a minimum.

Richard Peppercorn, the representative of the World Health Organization in Gaza and the West Bank, said on Tuesday that more than 8,000 people need to be transferred out of Gaza to receive treatment.

He added that about 6,000 people need to leave the Gaza Strip due to war-related injuries and diseases, while 2,000 suffer from cancer and other serious chronic diseases.

Last Sunday, a team from the World Health Organization and its partners visited two hospitals, Kamal Adwan and Al-Awda, in northern Gaza, to deliver supplies for the first time since the start of hostilities. Peppercorn described the situation in Al Awda Hospital as “particularly horrific” due to the destruction of one of its buildings.

Ahmed Daher, head of the World Health Organization’s sub-office in Gaza, said: “The two hospitals we visited represent the health system in general in Gaza. They struggle to continue working with small amounts of aid, which makes them barely able to serve those in need.”

He added: “Both hospitals faced a shortage of fuel, energy, and specialized staff. The majority of people admitted to the two hospitals were suffering from shock.”

The Ministry of Health in Gaza said on Sunday that at least 15 children had died over the past few days due to malnutrition and dehydration at Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza.

Most of the World Health Organization’s requests to visit northern Gaza in January were rejected, and only 3 requests out of 16 were allowed to be facilitated. The organization added that it was not allowed to facilitate any requests to carry out missions it led itself in the northern Gaza Strip last month.

Smoke rising over Gaza after an Israeli raid (AFP)

Humanitarian aid and hunger

Israel stopped all imports of food, drugs, energy and fuel into Gaza at the beginning of the war.

It later allowed aid shipments to enter. But relief organizations say that security checks and the difficulty of moving through a war zone severely hamper their operations.

United Nations agencies say that malnutrition rates among children in northern Gaza are “extremely high” and about three times higher than in the southern Palestinian Strip. Where more assistance is available.

“When children start dying of hunger, it should be a warning like no other,” said Jens Laerke, spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

He added: “If not now, when is the right time to do our best, declare a state of emergency, and flood Gaza with the aid it needs?”

Pepperkorn of the World Health Organization said that one in every 6 children under the age of two suffers from acute malnutrition in northern Gaza.

Calls directed at Israel to make more efforts to confront the humanitarian crisis have increased since the killing of Palestinians who were gathering to obtain aid in Gaza last month.

Health authorities in Gaza said that 118 people were killed by Israeli fire in the incident, which they described as a massacre.

Israel says many of these people were run over, and has pledged to conduct an investigation.

The US military carried out the first airdrop of food aid to Gaza residents on Saturday, and plans to carry out more.

The airdrop is seen as the latest sign that Washington has begun to cross diplomatic paths with Israel, which the United Nations and other aid agencies complain has blocked or restricted aid access. Israel denies obstructing humanitarian access.

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