31 humanitarian staff killed, Gaza hospitals on the brink of collapse: UN office

The number of humanitarian staff killed while on duty in the Gaza Strip has risen to 31, after an Israeli airstrike killed seven civil defense members on Monday, according to a statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Tuesday.

The statement added that Gaza is under “full electricity blackout” for the sixth day, warning of the repercussions on the healthcare system in the strip.

“Hospitals are on the brink of collapse as their fuel reserves used to operate backup generators have been almost totally depleted, endangering the lives of thousands of patients,” OCHA warned.

Earlier, UNRWA, the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, said at least 1 million people had been forced to flee their homes in one week alone and at least 400,000 displaced people are taking shelter in UN schools and buildings in Gaza.

UNRAWA warned that Israel’s cutting of all water to the besieged enclave has caused people to drink from contaminated water sources, and could cause the spread of disease.

“There continues to be no water for the vast majority of the population in Gaza,” Unrwa spokesperson Juliette Touma told reporters in New York in a video conference from Amman.

“We’re talking about two million people in the Gaza Strip who do not have water and water is running out and water is life. Life is running out of Gaza,” said Touma.

“We are very concerned about the spread of waterborne diseases if water continues not to be available in Gaza because we do know that people are resorting to dirty water sources, including wells,” she added.

Meanwhile, UNICEF-led WASH Cluster warned that the Gaza population is at “imminent risk of death or infectious disease outbreak” if water and fuel are not allowed to enter the strip.

The World Food Programme (WFP) said in a statement that it provided bread to 107,192 internally displaced people in south Gaza on Sunday, but stressed the need for humanitarian aid to enter the strip.
“We urgently need access through all borders to replenish stocks & deliver assistance,” WFP added.

Meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the Israeli military is prepared for a “long war” and will fight until it achieves complete victory over its enemies.

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