Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Aid to Gaza residents “remains completely inadequate”: UN chief

The level of aid and fuel entering the Gaza Strip remains insufficient, even with the truce between Israel and Hamas in place, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

“The level of aid to Palestinians in Gaza remains completely inadequate to meet the huge needs of more than 2 million people,” Guterres said.

“And although the total volume of fuel allowed into Gaza has also increased, it remains utterly insufficient to sustain basic operations.”

The Security Council convened on Wednesday to discuss how to implement its mandatory resolution earlier this month, which calls for “humanitarian pauses and corridors” within Gaza.

Guterres noted the importance of opening more crossings into Gaza as the Rafah crossing with Egypt has become inundated.

“It is important to recognize that the Rafah border crossing does not have enough capacity, especially taking into account the slow pace of security procedures,” Guterres continued.

“That is why we have been urging the opening of other crossings, including Kerem Shalom, and the streamlining of inspection mechanisms to allow for the necessary increase of lifesaving aid,” he added.

A convoy of trucks successfully delivered “much-needed” humanitarian aid to UN shelters in the northern Gaza Strip earlier this week — the first arrival of aid to the area in nearly 50 days, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which runs many of the shelters.

Guterres also said that over 80% of Gaza residents have been forced to leave their homes amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“Beyond the many civilians killed and wounded, that I have spoken of, 80% of Gaza’s people have now been forced from their homes,” he stated, adding the growing number of people has been pushed out to the southern part of Gaza but nowhere is safe.

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