Limited Humanitarian Aid Access to Gaza Amid Ongoing Conflict

Aid access to the Gaza Strip remains significantly restricted with fewer than 1,000 truckloads entering since May 7, following Israel's military operation. The U.N. reported that food comprises the bulk of the aid, and operational restrictions exacerbate the crisis. Egypt and the U.S. are working to ameliorate conditions.

Reuters | Updated: 25-05-2024 00:37 IST | Created: 25-05-2024 00:37 IST
Limited Humanitarian Aid Access to Gaza Amid Ongoing Conflict
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Aid access to the Gaza Strip is extremely limited with less than 1,000 truckloads of humanitarian assistance entering the enclave since May 7, after Israel began a military operation in southern Gaza's Rafah area, the United Nations said on Friday. The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that between May 7 and May 23, only 906 truckloads entered the enclave of 2.3 million people, where a famine looms amid the war between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas.

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said about 800 of those truckloads were food supplies. OCHA said 143 truckloads passed through the Israel-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing in Gaza's south, while in Gaza's north 62 passed through the Erez crossing and 604 via Erez West. It said 97 truckloads have come through a U.S.-built floating pier in central Gaza that began operating a week ago.

The Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza has been closed since Israel began stepping up its military operation in the area, creating a backlog of aid in Egypt where some of the food supplies have begun to rot. Israel and the United States had called on Egypt, which is also concerned about the risk of Palestinians being displaced from Gaza, to reopen the border. Egypt had said it was closed due to the threat posed to aid work by Israel's military operation.

On Friday, Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi agreed with U.S. President Joe Biden by phone to temporarily send humanitarian aid and fuel to the U.N. via the Kerem Shalom crossing, the Egyptian presidency said. Aid shipments could begin as soon as Friday evening, said Egyptian security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity. The United Nations welcomes the move, Dujarric said. On Thursday he said: "There are a lot of doorways into Gaza. ... Whether by land or by sea, we don't control those doorways, but we want them all to be open."

OCHA said on Friday its figures do not include commercial trucks because the U.N. has been unable to observe private-sector deliveries through Kerem Shalom crossing due to insecurity. "Additionally, just over 1 million litres of fuel have entered the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the military operation in Rafah," OCHA said in an update posted online.

"This represents an average of 29% of fuel allocations that would have been received under arrangements in place prior to 6 May, further affecting the functioning of bakeries, hospitals, water wells, and other critical infrastructure," it said. The U.N. says at least 500 trucks a day of aid and commercial goods need to enter Gaza. In April, an average of 189 trucks entered a day - the highest since the war started in October.

Israel is retaliating against Hamas, which rules Gaza, over an Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian militants in which more than 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. Nearly 130 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza. Israel launched an air, ground and sea assault on the blockaded Palestinian territory, killing more than 35,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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