Geneva, Oct 25 (EFE).- A United Nations agency has warned that it will be forced to halt humanitarian operations in Gaza on Wednesday due to lack of fuel.
Relatives of Palestinians killed during the ongoing Israeli-Hamas conflict escalation mourn next to their bodies at the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, 25 October 2023. EFE/EPA/HAITHAM IMAD
In its daily report on the situation in Gaza on Tuesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said that the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), “by far the largest humanitarian provider in Gaza,” will be “forced to halt all operations” on Wednesday unless fuel is allowed into the enclave “immediately.”
“Since 11 October, Gaza has been under a full electricity blackout, rendering hospitals and water facilities dependent on backup generators run by fuel,” UNOCHA said, adding that more than one-third of hospitals in Gaza (12 of 35) and nearly two-thirds of primary health care clinics (46 of 72) have shut down due to damage from hostilities or lack of fuel.
In recent days, dozens of trucks with medicine, food and other humanitarian supplies have entered Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah border crossing, but fuel, which is vital for the operation of generators and water desalination plants, has not been authorized.
UN staff have visited hospitals in the Strip that show the situation has reached “an unprecedented point of devastation due to the influx of injuries combined with severe shortages of essential resources, such as medical supplies, personnel, electricity, water, and fuel.”
The staff reported hundreds of wounded men, women, and children in one of the hospitals.
“Many of them were unconscious, with open wounds, lying on beds, stretchers and on the floor, with limited medical attendance. In the yard, there was a tent with tens of dead bodies, including children. Many of the dead are kept there because the morgues are full,” UNOCHA said.
In these hospitals, fuel “is being severely rationed and is used to run a selected number of critical facilities. The back-up generators are not designed for continuous operation and are therefore likely to break,” the report highlights.
Meanwhile, food insecurity means that many children and women, especially pregnant and lactating women, are at risk of malnutrition, which could affect their immune system and increase the risk of anemia, preeclampsia and hemorrhage, warns the UN.
Citing figures from the Gaza Ministry of Health, UNOCHA said that Tuesday saw the highest fatality toll in a single day with 704, bringing the total number people killed in Gaza since Oct. 7 to 5,791 (68 percent women and children), with 16,297 injured.
More than 1,550 missing people are believed to be dead or trapped under the rubble of bombed buildings, including up to 870 children, according to Palestinian sources.
Up to 590,000 of Gaza’s 1.4 million internally displaced people are housed in UNRWA shelters, in overcrowded conditions.
In the West Bank, 95 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers, 28 of them children, the report said. EFE