As hopes flicker for an extension of the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Gaza City appears as a haunting “ghost town,” according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Humanitarian aid has finally reached shelters in northern Gaza, marking a crucial development since the eruption of war last month. Thomas White, Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza, described the city as deserted, with visible impacts of heavy airstrikes and shelling creating challenges for aid deliveries.
TRUCE DEADLINE AND HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS
The sixth and final day of the truce, facilitated by Qatar, prompts urgent calls to extend the pause in fighting. International pleas coincide with reports of at least 85 hostages released by Hamas and over 180 Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel during this period. The truce has also allowed humanitarian actors, including the Egyptian and Palestinian Red Crescent Societies and UN agencies, to enhance aid deliveries across Gaza, addressing the critical needs of the displaced population.
AID REACHES NORTHERN GAZA AMIDST DESTRUCTION
UNRWA reported that humanitarian aid, including food, medical supplies, water, and non-food items, has reached shelters in northern Gaza, a region heavily impacted by the conflict. Images provided by UNRWA depict volunteers unloading supplies and refilling static fuel tanks, showcasing the courage of aid workers operating in perilous conditions.
HEALTH CRISIS AMID DISPLACEMENT
As the conflict’s toll rises, the head of the UN health agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warns of a high risk of disease outbreaks among the displaced population. Given dire living conditions and a lack of healthcare, he emphasizes the potential for more casualties from diseases than bombings. WHO data reveals alarming figures of acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea, and various health issues, underlining the urgent need for sustained humanitarian efforts.
DISPLACEMENT AND DIRE CONDITIONS
More than 15,000 Gazans, including around 6,000 children, have lost their lives in the conflict. Over 1.8 million, constituting 80% of the enclave’s population, are displaced since the eruption of violence in October. The UNRWA notes the displacement’s scale, highlighting the dire living conditions and the urgent need for sustained international support to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza.