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In the Shadows of Despair: UN Chief Urges World Leaders to Avert Catastrophe in Gaza

By: ATN News

UNHQ: In a desperate plea to the United Nations Security Council, the Secretary-General invoked Article 99, warning of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza that could have far-reaching consequences for the region. The past two months have seen a nightmare unfold, with the humanitarian support system on the brink of total collapse.

The Secretary-General expressed deep concern about the unprecedented threat to the safety and security of UN staff in Gaza, with over 130 colleagues already killed in the conflict, marking the largest single loss of life in the organization's history. Despite the perilous conditions, the UN remains committed to delivering aid to the people of Gaza.

The situation on the ground has deteriorated rapidly, making it impossible to fulfill the Security Council's mandate to scale up humanitarian aid. The crossing point at Rafah, a crucial entry point for supplies, is a major bottleneck, further compounded by intense bombardments, Israeli restrictions, fuel shortages, and interrupted communications.

The humanitarian nightmare extends beyond the immediate threat to UN staff. The civilian population of Gaza is reeling from the devastating impact of ongoing military operations, with over 17,000 Palestinians reported killed, including thousands of women and children. Infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, mosques, and churches, has been severely damaged, leaving more than 60 percent of Gaza's housing destroyed or damaged.

The Secretary-General highlighted the dire food situation, with a serious risk of starvation and famine according to the World Food Programme. In northern Gaza, 97 percent of households are not eating enough, and the last functioning flour mill was destroyed in November. The health system is collapsing, with a significant number of health workers killed, hospitals heavily damaged, and critical shortages of medical supplies.

Amid this escalating crisis, the Secretary-General invoked Article 99, urging the Security Council to press for a humanitarian ceasefire and avert a catastrophe. He condemned the brutal terror attacks by Hamas that triggered the conflict, as well as the indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel. However, he emphasized that the brutality of one party cannot justify the collective punishment of the entire Palestinian population.

In closing, the Secretary-General urged the international community to act swiftly, calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the protection of civilians, and the urgent delivery of lifesaving aid. He reiterated the importance of a two-State solution, based on UN resolutions and international law, for a peaceful future in the region. The eyes of the world, and the eyes of history, are watching, he concluded, emphasizing the critical need for immediate action.


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