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Access denials by Israel prevent humanitarian deliveries: UN

January 19, 2024 at 8:04 pm

Aid trucks carrying medicine and humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza enter through the Karm Abu Salem commercial crossing as part of the agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza City, Gaza on January 17, 2024 [Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency]

The access denials by the Israeli military are preventing humanitarian deliveries into the Gaza Strip, a UN spokesman said on Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Our humanitarian colleagues are reporting that Israeli restrictions on the import of critical equipment, including communications devices, are severely compromising safe and effective aid operations anywhere in Gaza,” Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

“In the north, we and our partners are trying to increase humanitarian deliveries, but access denials by the Israeli military are preventing a scale-up,” he said.

Seven of 29 planned missions during the first two weeks of January could be fully or partially carried out, he added.

Turning to the availability of water for drinking and domestic use in Gaza, Dujarric said it is “shrinking” each day.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) is already reporting 152,000 cases of diarrhoea, more than half among children under the age of five, and the inability to do water chlorination to kill bacteria is aggravating the already concerning situation,” he added.

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“Lack of toilets and sanitation services has forced people to resort to open air defecation, increasing concerns over disease outbreaks.

“Disrupted routine vaccination activities, as well as lack of medicines for treating communicable diseases, is further raising the risk of disease spread,” he added.

Regarding a meeting between senior Russian diplomat and a Hamas representative in the capital, Moscow, Dujarric said the UN supports discussions that would lead to immediate humanitarian ceasefire and unconditional release of hostages.

“We’re not involved in these discussions, but we understand that there are diplomatic discussions going on in different places …There needs to be discussion between interested parties.

“We just hope that whatever discussions are being held, lead to a positive outcome for the people of Gaza and for the people of Israel,” he added.

Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by Hamas which Tel Aviv says killed 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

At least 24,762 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and 62,108 injured, according to Palestinian health authorities.

The Israeli offensive has left 85 per cent of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

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