The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said on Saturday that the number of displaced Palestinians seeking shelter at 44 of its schools in Gaza has now reached over 50,000, exceeding the number recorded in the 2008/9 conflict. Basic supplies are running out as a result of the crisis.
In a press statement, UNRWA expressed its concern that continued military operations will increase this number further, which would cause an additional burden on an already vulnerable population.
"The speed with which this has happened is staggering," said Robert Turner, the Director of Operations for UNRWA in Gaza. "The number of displaced persons doubled in one day and more than 25,000 moved to our schools only yesterday; we are very concerned."
The Palestinian men, women and children are relying on UNRWA to provide them with shelter, and the reality is that the UN agency only had relief supplies in stock for about 35,000 people. "We are procuring additional supplies now but remain critically short of funds," Turner added. "We can get through today but if the situation continues to deteriorate and we receive more displaced in our schools, we will likely run out of basic stocks of mattresses and other vital supplies tomorrow."