Saturday, May 25, 2024

UN estimates about 300k people fled Gaza’s Rafah

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has reported it estimated that about 300,000 people have fled Rafah in the Gaza Strip ahead of a potential full-scale Israeli invasion.

“Over the last week, UNRWA estimates around 300,000 people have now fled Rafah, as the forced and inhumane displacement of Palestinians continues. There is nowhere safe to go. There is nowhere safe to go. There is nowhere safe to go,” the UNRWA wrote on social media platform X.

The UNRWA is the United Nations agency that provides relief for Palestinian refugees. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also announced on social media that about 300,000 Gazans moved from Rafah to the humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi.

Israel has been planning for an operation into Rafah for months despite the Joe Biden administration repeatedly warning against the move without putting forward a plan to protect civilians. Israel moved into Rafah last week and seized a border crossing for humanitarian aid but has yet to launch a wider military operation.

Israel ordered new evacuations in Rafah on Saturday as it plans to expand its military operations. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday the US has not seen a plan from Israel on how it plans to protect civilians.

“We believe two things. One, you have to have a clear, credible plan to protect civilians, which we haven’t seen. Second, we also need to see a plan for what happens after this conflict in Gaza is open — is over,” Blinken said on CBS’s “Face the Nation”.

“As we look at — at Rafah, they may go in and have some initial success, but … potentially at an incredibly high cost to civilians; but one that is not durable, one that’s not sustainable,” he added later on.

Biden stated last week that the US would halt sending offensive weapons to Israel if it invades Rafah. The Biden administration also said last week it would be delaying certain arms shipments to Israel amid the looming full-scale invasion of Rafah.

The World Food Programme also warned against a full-scale invasion of Rafah on Saturday.

“Families are once again on the move, searching for shelter, food, water – but with fewer resources. Until a ceasefire is agreed, access to lifesaving aid MUST be maintained. A full-scale invasion of Rafah would be catastrophic,” the program wrote.

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