The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has described as increasingly dire, the current situation in the Gaza Strip. The war between Israel and the Hamas, the rulers of the territory, has been raging endlessly.
The Associated Press quoted Jens Laerke, a, OCHA spokesperson, as saying that nearly 47,000 Palestinians had fled their homes due to more than a week of heavy Israeli airstrikes. Hamas and other militants have fired more than 3,400 rockets into Israel, he said. The spokesperson added that Gaza has electricity access for just six to eight hours a day.
We are seeing immense human suffering and extensive damage to homes and vital infrastructure in Gaza.
I call on the international community to ensure adequate funding for our humanitarian operations in Gaza. https://t.co/lbKUIbhulU
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) May 18, 2021
Following the conflict, 132 buildings with 621 housing and commercial units are estimated to have been destroyed in the region. Over 300 stand severely damaged.
Since the Hamas captured power from Palestinian forces in 2007, Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade on Gaza. While Israel insists the aim is to prevent the protesters from rearming, human rights activists view it as collective punishment for the unarmed in the region.
We’ve received worrying reports that essential health and humanitarian infrastructure have been hit in Gaza.
We reiterate that civilians and civilian infrastructure are #NotATarget.
More in our latest update: https://t.co/LjgqowPUjy
— UN Humanitarian (@UNOCHA) May 18, 2021
The AP report said the OCHA spokesperson hailed Israel’s decision to open Gaza’s main commercial crossing. This would allow the people there greater access to essential supplies for the first time in nearly three weeks since fresh conflict broke out, on May 10.
Call for mediation
Meanwhile, Rosemary DiCarlo, the UN’s political affairs chief, addressing a meeting of the UN Forum on the Question of Palestine, noted that the global body has been “actively involved” in mediation so far. The forum was organised by the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which met online.
The Hamas strife with Israeli forces, which has so far claimed over 200 civilian lives on both sides, including children, is a “tragic reminder” that the Palestine-Israel conflict has to be ended, she was quoted as saying by UN News.
“In the absence of such a process, we are — regrettably — bound to witness more episodes of tensions and desperation. People on both sides deserve much more than that,” the report further quoted her as saying.