Israel "must immediately" lift sanctions imposed on the Gaza Strip and allow the entry of essential items, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Jamie McGoldrick, said in a statement yesterday.
In a statement, McGoldrick said: "The deterioration witnessed in recent weeks in the Gaza Strip is of grave concern," referring to the restrictions imposed by Israel during the recent escalation.
He noted: "Israel has limited the transfer of certain goods into the blockaded coastal enclave, reduced the permissible fishing area and prevented fuel deliveries, including the UN-facilitated fuel for Gaza's sole Power Plant."
The UN official added: "On 24 August, the first cases of COVID-19 outside the quarantine facilities were confirmed," stressing that this marked "a significant deterioration in the health situation."
McGoldrick's statement was issued hours before a deal was struck between Palestinian factions and Israel which allowed fuel supplies to be brought into the Strip.
"Power outages in hospitals are having serious repercussions, with patients in intensive care, chronic and emergency cases particularly vulnerable," McGoldrick warned.
Lack of electricity, he said, undermines critical infrastructure, "including the operations of all water wells, sewage pumping stations, wastewater treatment plants, and some desalination plants. The supply of clean water and wastewater treatment is impacted."
"The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is already dire," he said, adding: "I call on Israel to immediately allow the resumption of fuel into the Gaza Strip, in line with its obligations as an occupying power, to ensure that the basic needs of people are met and to prevent a collapse of basic services."