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UNRWA head warns many more will die with Israel banning agency from north Gaza

March 25, 2024 at 12:54 pm

United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) chief Philippe Lazzarini disembarks from a plane upon landing at Egypt’s al-Arish Airport, near the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip on March 23, 2024 [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini revealed on Sunday that Israel had told the UN that it will no longer approve the agency’s aid convoys to enter the northern Gaza Strip. He warned that many more Palestinians will die of hunger, dehydration and lack of shelter as a result of this “outrageous” decision.

“As of today, @UNRWA, the main lifeline for #Palestine Refugees, is denied from providing lifesaving assistance to northern Gaza,” wrote Lazzarini on X. “Despite the tragedy unfolding under our watch, the Israeli Authorities informed the UN that they will no longer approve any @UNRWA food convoys to the north. This is outrageous and makes it intentional to obstruct lifesaving assistance during a manmade famine. These restrictions must be lifted.”

The senior UN official pointed out that UNRWA is the largest organisation with the highest reach to displaced communities in Gaza. “By preventing UNRWA to fulfil its mandate in Gaza, the clock will tick faster towards famine and many more will die of hunger, dehydration plus lack of shelter. This cannot happen; it would only stain our collective humanity.”

According to UNRWA, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification concluded that up to 1.1 million people in Gaza face catastrophic levels of food insecurity. The severe food shortage in the northern Gaza Strip has already led to the death of at least 25 people due to malnutrition, most of them children and the elderly. More than 700,000 others are at risk according to the authorities in Gaza.

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