Monday, March 4, 2024

Israel war on Gaza displaced 1.9 million people: UN agency

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has announced virtually 1.9 million people, more than 80 percent of the Gaza population, have been displaced since October 7 due to Israel’s unrelenting bombardment of the Strip.

Almost 1.9 million people, more than 80% of Gaza’s total population, have now been displaced since the beginning of the war between Hamas and Israel, the UNRWA said on Monday.

Near 1.2 million internally displaced people (IDP’s) were sheltering in 156 UNRWA facilities across the Gaza Strip. A large majority, almost one million people, are sheltering in facilities in central and south Gaza, in places including Khan Younis and Rafah.

“The average number of IDPs in UNRWA shelters is 10,326, more than four times their capacity,” UNRWA added.

Thomas White, director of UNRWA affairs in Gaza, stated “another wave of displacement” is taking place and the humanitarian situation is worsening as the Israel Defense Forces steps up operations in southern Gaza, including in Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have been displaced.

“People are pleading for advice on where to find safety. We have nothing to tell them,” White wrote on “X” — formerly Twitter — on Monday.

“The roads leading South towards Rafah are clogged with cars and donkey carts packed with people and their meagre possessions,” he added.

The UN agency announced 218 internally displaced people have been killed and 901 injured while sheltering at UNRWA facilities. The organizations also said 111 of its staff have been killed since October 7.

As of December 2, the UNRWA “has been able to verify that 117 incidents have occurred at 85 UNRWA premises since the beginning of the war. 30 installations were hit directly and 55 sustained collateral damage. In addition, UNRWA has received reports of the military use of its facilities”, the organization added.

Between November 20 and December 2, nine out of 22 UNRWA health centers were operational in central and southern Gaza, where 284 health workers attended to more than 30,000 patients.

The head of the UNRWA also stated on Monday the number of civilians being killed in the Gaza Strip is “rapidly increasing” as Israel continues its bombardment and ground operations.

“The resumption of the military operation and its expansion further in southern Gaza is repeating horrors from past weeks,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said in a statement.

“The number of civilians killed is rapidly increasing. Civilians, including men, women, children, older persons, the sick and people with disabilities are the most to suffer.”

He added that another evacuation order to move civilians from Khan Younis into Rafah in southern Gaza due to Israel’s ongoing bombardment “created panic, fear and anxiety”.

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