United Nations halts food distribution in Rafah due to lack of supplies, insecurity

World Wednesday 22/May/2024 07:49 AM
United Nations halts food distribution in Rafah due to lack of supplies, insecurity

New York: Amid high levels of hunger and acute shortage of food in Gaza, the United Nations has suspended food distribution in Rafah due to a lack of supplies and insecurity in the densely populated area, Voice of America (VOA) reported.

Stephane Dujarric, a UN spokesperson on Tuesday, said, the distribution centres of the World Food Program and UNRWA, the agency for Palestinian refugees, are inaccessible because of the ongoing military operation in Rafah.

Over 1 million people are facing high levels of hunger, the UN stated.

The Rafah crossing into Egypt, once the main entrance for aid, has been closed since May 6, and no aid trucks have crossed the US-built floating pier in two days, the UN said, VOA reported.

A World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson said, "humanitarian operations in Gaza are near collapse."

WFP Spokesperson Abeer Etefa warned that if food and other supplies don't resume entering Gaza in "massive quantities, famine-like conditions will spread."

Additionally, UNRWA stressed that its health centres have not received medical supplies in 10 days, however, its health care staff still conducts medical consultations at its centres, as reported by VOA.
Meanwhile, the head of the World Health Organization shared a post on X, stating that Al-Awda Hospital in northern Gaza has been "under siege since 19 May, with no one allowed to leave or enter."

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted that 22 patients, their companions and 148 hospital staff "are still trapped inside."

On Monday, the medical staff at al-Awda reported a sniper attack on the building. An artillery rocket hit the fifth floor where the administration office is located, but there were no injuries.

Following the attack, the WHO chief called for humanitarian access to the hospital and an immediate ceasefire, VOA reported.

A senior Washington administration official on Tuesday said that there are now multiple crossing points for aid to come into Gaza, including through the humanitarian sea corridor where aid is inspected in Cyprus and delivered straight to the Israeli port of Ashdod without additional inspection there.

"We're looking to flood in (aid) as much as possible. And then it is up to a number of groups inside Gaza to do the distribution in various ways," the official said.

He further noted the need to coordinate deconfliction and convoys encountering armed elements that "self-distribute" humanitarian assistance.

Israeli forces carried out a deadly raid on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank and fought Hamas terrorists in the southern Gaza Strip, reported VOA.