In an alert, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) reiterated deep concerns that people uprooted by ongoing hostilities in southern Gaza remain traumatized and are crammed into a narrow area along the beach “in the burning summer heat”.

The UN agency’s Deputy Executive Director, Carl Skau previously noted that “active conflict and lawlessness” have made it “near impossible” for WFP and its partners to meet the soaring needs. 

Visible signs of wasting

Among the alarming shortages facing the people of Gaza, UN aid coordination office, OCHA, highlighted a lack of milk and formula for babies, along with nutritional supplements for children and pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Despite visible signs of wasting among children, no nutrition screenings have been conducted to assess the scale of malnutrition and treat identified cases due to limited capacity,” the UN agency noted in its latest report published late Wednesday. 

Antenatal and postnatal care is also unavailable and some displacement sites have medical points that operate “only a few hours a day” without an adequate supply of medicines and “reports of emergency deliveries taking place in tents with no medical support at late hours during the night”, the UN agency explained. 

Rafah emptied

Meanwhile, in the southernmost governorate of Rafah, “people continue to be displaced amidst active fighting and bombardment,” OCHA said. It cited estimates by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, that only around 65,000 people remain in Rafah governorate. Six weeks ago, before Israeli evacuation orders and military operations which have crippled aid relief work, the area hosted 1.4 million.

“At displacement sites, internally displaced persons are living in overcrowded makeshift shelters and tents which are in dire need of repair and do not offer any protection from extreme heat,” OCHA said, citing latest assessments covering four sites in Deir al Balah, Khan Younis and Al Mawasi – a total population of more than 130,000 people.

In a related development, OCHA also reported that for the first time since early June, five fuel trucks entered Gaza. But supplies remain scarce “as no fuel had been delivered in the Strip for the past two weeks”

Aid stores hit

According to WFP’s Mr. Skau who visited Gaza last week, one million displaced people in south Gaza remain “trapped, without clean water or sanitation. It’s a public health and protection disaster.”

In northern Gaza, he noted that aid deliveries have improved although people need a variety of more nutritious food. But delivering lifesaving relief is increasing difficult, as UN staff “spend five to eight hours waiting at checkpoints every day. Missiles hit our premises, despite being deconflicted.”

“The breakdown of law and order means we also face looting and violence amid a large security vacuum,” Mr. Skau continued, amid scenes of “large-scale destruction, rivers of sewage (and) “traumatized and exhausted people…from the south to the northernmost tip of the Strip”.

Meanwhile, OCHA said that ground incursions and heavy fighting continue to be reported in locations including Beit Hanoun, south of Gaza city, eastern Deir al Balah, northeastern Khan Younis, as well as in central and southern Rafah.

Deadly harvest

Latest UN assessments also indicate that in addition to the lack of access in southern Gaza to shelter, health, fresh food, water and sanitation, more than half of the enclave’s cropland has been damaged.

This has severely disrupted Gaza’s food supply chain, warned the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Satellite Centre (UNOSAT), in its review of croplands, greenhouses and other agricultural structures.

Although more than 40 per cent of the Gaza Strip’s total area is covered by fields, vegetable plantations and orchards – about 150 square kilometres (93 square miles) the UN agencies highlighted a “significant decline” in crop potential from “razing, heavy vehicle movement, bombing, shelling and other conflict-related operations”.

As of May this year, about 57 per cent of Gaza’s cropland is estimated to have been damaged, compared to more than 40 per cent in mid-February, according to FAO and UNOSAT.

Hundreds of agricultural structures have also been damaged, FAO said, including 537 home barns, 484 broiler farms, 397 sheep farms and 256 agricultural warehouses, in addition to almost half of Gaza’s agricultural wells (1,049 out of 2,261) as of 20 May.

Latest data from the Gazan health authorities indicates that at least 37,396 Palestinians have been killed and 85,523 injured in the enclave.

 

Source of original article: United Nations (news.un.org). Photo credit: UN. The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of Global Diaspora News (www.globaldiasporanews.net).

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