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Gaza: aid arrives in north of Palestinian enclave for first time in months

March 18, 2024 at 8:42 am

A truck carrying humanitarian aid supplies enters to the region from northern border of Gaza Strip on March 16, 2024. [Ramzi Mahmud – Anadolu Agency]

The first delivery of humanitarian aid in about four months has reached Gaza’s northern city of Jabaliya, local sources told, Anadolu early today. The Israeli army allowed nine trucks carrying aid to enter the northern Gaza Strip, including Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, as well as Jabaliya.

The aid consisted of flour, rice, canned food and sugar. It arrived at the Jabaliya refugee camp under the auspices of the security services of the Gaza government in cooperation with Palestinian tribes. It was placed in warehouses belonging to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

The agency was thus able to carry out its first regular aid distribution on Sunday. Hundreds of Palestinians flocked to the distribution centre, and each family was given five kilograms of flour as part of the aid package.

In the past, Palestinians from Gaza City received aid which had entered the Palestinian territory sporadically and in limited quantities at the Kuwait Junction to the east and the Nabulsi Junction in the west. None ever reached the northern governorates. On many occasions, the Israeli occupation forces targeted recipients, killing dozens and wounding many more.

Yahya Abu Riala told Anadolu how relieved he felt to receive flour after relying on animal food made of corn and barley for the past 40 days to feed his children. The 37-year-old’s family home in Beit Lahiya was bombed and he, his wife and their four children had to move to the Jabaliya refugee camp.

READ: 1 in 3 children under 2 years acutely malnourished in northern Gaza: UN agency

According to Mazen Al-Jarousha, 55, his family has not eaten white flour bread for 30 days. They too were eating animal food.

Um Muhammad Muftah, 40, was not able to get any flour from the aid delivery, because the supply ran out. “We heard the news of the arrival of aid and went to get something, but we could not get anything,” she told Anadolu. She had hoped to obtain flour to feed her children, explaining that white flour ran out more than two months ago.

No humanitarian aid has reached the towns of the north of the Gaza Strip since November, causing famine conditions in the northern governorates. At least 27 people have died of malnutrition and dehydration in Gaza as a result of the Israeli blockade of normal supplies and aid, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive on Gaza since a cross-border incursion led by the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, on 7 October in which nearly 1,200 people were killed, many of them at the hands of the Israel Defence Forces. More than 31,600 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and nearly 73,700 others have been wounded amid mass destruction.

The Israeli offensive has displaced 85 per cent of Gaza’s population amid a crippling blockade of most food, clean water, fuel supplies and medicine. The UN estimates that 60 per cent of the civilian infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed by Israel.

The apartheid, occupation state stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza. According to the South African government, which lodged the case with the court, Israel is not complying with that order.