Sunday, December 3, 2023

Urgent need for ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza: UN Human Rights Office

There is an urgent need for a pause in hostilities to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, the United Nations Human Rights Office has announced.

“There have been very mammoth diplomatic efforts to try to make this happen. The secretary-general is constantly liaising with all the parties that are involved, and many other member states are also exercising what leverage they can. We need the security for the aid deliveries to be able to happen,” UNHRO spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told CNN on Monday.

Gaza is facing a critical humanitarian crisis, with shortages of water, electricity, food, fuel and medicine.

“We have seen hospitals that have been forced to evacuate. Doctors insisting that they will stay with patients who are in the ICU wards and the neonatal units, where you had the impossible choice of whether to abandon your patients or to stay with them and risk death.
The access to water, access to food, the forced evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people into southern Gaza has created a very, very difficult humanitarian situation in southern Gaza as well,” Shamdasani said.

She added there is a significant amount of aid waiting at the border to get in.

“We are looking at potentially thousands of deaths if this aid doesn’t get through.”

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt is the only remaining outlet for supplies, but it has been closed for much of the past week, with neither Gazans nor foreign nationals able to cross.

The UN’s emergency relief chief Martin Griffiths has also reiterated Monday the desperate need for aid to get into Gaza.

“We need access for aid. We are in deep discussions with the Israelis, with the Egyptians and with others, hugely helped by Secretary (Antony) Blinken in his travels around the region,” Griffiths said in a video from the UN Monday.

Blinken has been on a whistle-stop tour of several Middle Eastern nations over the past few days, as part of an urgent effort to prevent Israel’s war against Hamas and a resulting civilian catastrophe in Gaza from escalating into a widening regional conflict.
After meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Sunday, Blinken promised that the Rafah crossing into Egypt — the last remaining exit for Gazans — “will be open.”

“I’m hoping to hear some good news this morning about getting aid through Rafah… into Gaza to help those million people who have moved south as well as those who live there already,” Griffiths added.

Griffiths stated he will go to the region Tuesday to help with the crisis.

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