Friday, May 24, 2024

WHO chief: Rafah invasion would be ‘humanitarian catastrophe’

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has taken to X to plead with Israel not to proceed with its planned invasion of Gaza’s southern city of Rafah.

“A full scale invasion on Rafah would be a humanitarian catastrophe,” he wrote on X.

“We appeal to Israel not to proceed. We urge all parties to work for a ceasefire and lasting peace,” he said.

Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tel Aviv will invade Rafah even if it reaches a ceasefire and captive release agreement with Hamas.

The WHO chief also stated WHO teams “urgently need sustained, unimpeded and safe access” in Gaza.

The ongoing “man-made starvation” and blockade of humanitarian aid and services by Israeli forces is increasing the risk of epidemics that can be fatal, he wrote on X.

“We need a ceasefire,” he added.

The UN chief, Antonio Guterres, also stated an operation in Rafah would have a “devastating impact on Palestinians in Gaza”.

“All members of the Security Council, and many other governments, have clearly expressed their opposition to such an operation. I appeal for all those with influence over Israel to do everything in their power to prevent it,” he urged.

He added that more than 1.2 million people were seeking refuge in Rafah after fleeing from Israeli bombardments in the north of Gaza.

“They have very little to eat, hardly any access to medical care, little shelter, and nowhere safe to go. In northern Gaza, the most vulnerable – from sick children to people with disabilities – are already dying of hunger and disease. We must do everything possible to avert an entirely preventable, human-made famine,” Guterres said.

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