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Gaza Update: Escalation of Conflict in Gaza Sparks Humanitarian Crisis Concerns

By: ATN News

New York: In the wake of relentless Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea on January 16, the Gaza Strip finds itself mired in a deepening crisis, marked by civilian casualties and widespread devastation. Concurrently, Palestinian armed groups continue their indiscriminate rocket attacks, reaching the southern Israeli city of Netivot. Ground operations and clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups are reported across multiple locations in Gaza.

The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza reports a grim toll, with 158 Palestinians killed and 320 injured between January 15 and 16. Since October 7, 2023, the cumulative figures stand at a staggering 24,285 Palestinians killed and 61,154 injured. Israeli casualties include one soldier killed in Gaza, with another succumbing to injuries sustained a month prior. The Israeli military discloses that 188 soldiers have lost their lives, and 1,135 have been injured since the commencement of the ground operation.

As of January 15, only one of the three water pipelines from Israel into Gaza remains functional. Urgent repairs are needed for the Deir al Balah water pipeline, with a capacity of nearly 17,000 cubic meters per day. Telecommunication services in Gaza have been suspended for the fourth consecutive day since January 12, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis by limiting access to vital information and hampering response efforts.

The World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director, on January 15, issues a stark warning of hunger-related fatalities in Gaza, stressing the imperative of swift access for supplies. The Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Phase Classification (IPC) report underscores the entire Gaza population's precarious state, classified as 'crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity.' WFP, UNICEF, and WHO heads issue a joint statement, urging the opening of new entry routes, easing restrictions on humanitarian workers, and ensuring the safety of aid distribution.

UNICEF's Executive Director, on January 15, voices alarm over the plight of children at high risk of malnutrition and disease, hampered by adverse ground conditions. UNICEF projects that child wasting, the most severe form of malnutrition, may afflict 10,000 children in the coming weeks, with children in southern Gaza receiving insufficient water—well below recommended survival levels.

In a joint statement on January 16, UN Special Rapporteurs emphasize the dire situation, declaring hunger pervasive, a quarter of the population starving, and famine imminent. Pregnant women and children under five face heightened risks, with a generation at risk of stunting.

On January 15, UNRWA reports a somber milestone: 150 UNRWA staff members killed since hostilities began, with 232 incidents impacting UNRWA premises, including military use. The Secretary-General expresses deep sorrow over the loss of 152 UN staff members since October 7, calling for unhindered humanitarian access.

Between January 15 and 16, 204 trucks loaded with essential supplies entered Gaza through Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings. The Palestine Red Crescent Society, on January 16, received 25 trucks from the Egyptian Red Crescent via Rafah, delivering humanitarian aid encompassing food, water, medical supplies, and relief items.

The intensifying conflict in Gaza prompts serious concerns over an unfolding humanitarian crisis, necessitating urgent international intervention to alleviate the escalating suffering of the population.


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