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Over 100 UN staffers killed in 1 month in Gaza: Official

November 10, 2023 at 3:32 pm

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini visits UNRWA building in Rafah, Gaza, makes statements to the press members on November 01, 2023 [Hani Alshaer/Anadolu Agency]

The UN Agency for Palestinian refugees, or UNRWA, said Friday that more than 100 of its staff have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the Israeli-Palestine war on 7 October, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Devastated. Over 100 UNRWA colleagues confirmed killed in 1 month. Parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, (and) support staff,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said on X.

UNRWA is mourning, Palestinians mourning, Israelis mourning. Ending this tragedy needs Humanitarian ceasefire now

he added.

On Thursday, Lazzarini told the International Humanitarian Conference for Civilians in Gaza in Paris: “The past month was painful for UNRWA.”

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He said:

99 of my male and female colleagues were killed in Gaza. This is by far the largest number of United Nations relief workers killed in a conflict in such a short time

He noted that they are among 10,000 people killed since the beginning of the war, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.

“The killing of thousands of children (in Gaza) cannot be collateral damage,” he said.

Lazzarini added that pushing a million people to leave their homes and concentrating them in areas that lack adequate infrastructure constitutes “forced displacement” and that severely restricting food, water and medicine is “collective punishment”.

He said “the Israeli military incursion and settler violence in the West Bank caused a record rise in the number of Palestinian deaths.”

On his visit to Gaza last week, he said: “For the first time since the start of the war, I visited an UNRWA school that houses thousands of people, and it was a sad and heartbreaking situation.”

“Children are used to learning and laughing in this school, but today they are begging for a piece of bread and a sip of water.”

Lazzarini said that “more than 700,000 displaced people live in similar humiliating conditions inside 150 UNRWA schools and buildings across the Gaza Strip … Our shelters are overcrowded, with little food, water or privacy.”

“The appalling sanitary conditions represent a looming threat to public health,” he added.

Earlier in the day, the International Humanitarian Conference for Civilians in Gaza was launched in Paris with the participation of a large number of representatives of countries and organisations, including Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister, Ahmet Yildiz, Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President, Charles Michel.

In his opening speech at the conference, French President, Emmanuel Macron, announced that his country would allocate an additional €80 million ($85 million) for humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people, bringing its total for the current year to €100 million, Le Parisien daily reported.

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