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Gaza Aid Challenges Persist, Hindering Critical Relief Efforts

By: ATN News

Gaza: In a recent development brokered by Qatar and France, medicines destined for Israeli hostages entered Gaza on Thursday, accompanied by relief supplies for Palestinians. Despite this, UN humanitarians caution that the level of assistance for many Gazans has reached an "almost catastrophic" point.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) reports that ongoing intense Israeli bombardment and rocket attacks by Palestinian armed groups have severely hindered the distribution of aid. The situation is particularly dire beyond Rafah in the south of the Strip, where over 1.2 million people live in overcrowded conditions.

Abeer Atefa, WFP MENA Senior Communications Officer, stated that assistance beyond Rafah is almost catastrophic, echoing appeals from various UN agencies for increased access to all five Gaza governorates. In the first two weeks of the year, out of 29 planned missions for delivering lifesaving supplies north of Wadi Gaza, only one in four succeeded due to denials by Israeli authorities.

The UN aid wing highlighted those two additional missions, coordinated with Israeli authorities, faced non-viable routes or excessive delays at checkpoints, preventing their completion during safe operating windows.

Despite these challenges, reports indicate that only one of the three water pipelines from Israel into Gaza is operational. The Deir al Balah water pipeline urgently needs repairs, and with war-related devastation causing issues, the repairs may take up to four weeks.

As the conflict persists, more than 160 Gazans died in the last two days, with an additional 350 injured, bringing the total Palestinian casualties to well over 24,400. Three Israeli soldiers were reportedly killed in Gaza, adding to the toll of 191 Israeli fighters since October. The war's impact on children is particularly alarming, as UNICEF's deputy chief, Ted Chaiban, described witnessing horrific conditions during a three-day visit to Gaza. He emphasized the urgent need for a humanitarian ceasefire, citing the disproportionately high number of women and children among the casualties.

Chaiban shared harrowing stories of injured children, such as 11-year-old Sama and 13-year-old Ibrahim, emphasizing the need for an immediate end to the killing of children. Additionally, he called for the safe and unconditional release of two Israeli children held hostage by Palestinian militants.

In the face of these challenges, the plea for humanitarian assistance and a cessation of hostilities grows stronger, as the international community watches the unfolding crisis in Gaza.


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