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Fuel shortages continue to hinder aid operations in Gaza: UN

June 26, 2024 at 12:02 am

About 200 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid, cooking gas and fuel enter the Gaza Strip during the humanitarian pause between Israel and Hamas in Gaza City, Gaza on November 28, 2023 [Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency]

UN spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said Tuesday that fuel shortages in the Gaza Strip continue to prevent humanitarian aid operations, Anadolu Agency reports.

He told reporters that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “flags that persistent fuel shortages continue to hinder aid operations and the functioning of critical water, sanitation, health and other facilities across the Gaza Strip”.

Since the beginning of 2024, he said the amount of diesel and benzene fuel entering Gaza on a monthly basis is 14 per cent of levels prior to October 2023, which is 2 million litres compared to the 14 million litres that used to enter Gaza.

On Sunday, the Director of the Kuwait Field Hospital in Khan Yunis said its main electricity generator had stopped functioning because of the lack of fuel and the facility was now relying on a secondary generator to maintain operations.

Turning to the Israeli airstrikes that hit a school in northern Gaza, reportedly killing 12 victims and injuring 22, Dujarric said it was “tragic”.

READ: Palestinians in Gaza left thirsty as Israel blocks fuel deliveries

“It’s tragic that has become routine,” he said. “And let’s be clear, it is a building that was used as a school. There are no more schools run by the UN in Gaza. Children are not getting an education, but I can tell you that we are keeping a catalogue of all of the incidents and attacks on UN facilities or misuse of facilities by combatants.”

‘UN will not turn its back on people of Gaza’

Regarding reports that the UN sent a letter to Israel earlier this month that it will suspend aid operations across Gaza unless urgent steps are taken to protect humanitarian workers, Dujarric confirmed that  there was a letter.

“What I can tell you is that we are in regular contact with Israeli authorities to underscore the urgency of having the following things that we need. One is an effective coordination and deconfliction system for operations across Gaza, permission for central security equipment commensurate with the risks of working in a war zone and for the Israeli army to commit to its responsibilities to facilitate humanitarian assistance and to protect humanitarian staff and installations,” he said.

Humanitarian operations have repeatedly been in the “crosshairs” in Gaza, he stressed, adding the risks are becoming “increasingly intolerable”.

“We continue to deliver aid in an opportunistic manner. And every day we try to do more, but every day we need to grab whatever opportunities we can while continuing to operate in a conflict zone,” he added.

Saying that the UN is committed to doing whatever it can to help the people of Gaza, Dujarric said the UN has to assess how to run those operations.

“Can that convoy move? Can we open up another feeding centre? What supplies we can get? Every day we’re doing this assessment because we are continuing to operate in a conflict zone,” he said, adding the UN will not turn its back on the people of Gaza.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since a 7 October, 2023 attack by Hamas.

Nearly 37,700 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and more than 86,200 others injured, according to local health authorities.

More than eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on 6 May.

READ: Gaza Health Ministry appeals to provide fuel to hospitals amid Israeli onslaught