WFP warns Gazans ‘hanging in thread’

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Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau
UNITED NATIONS, 21st Feb.
World Food Programme on Tuesday warned that Gaza is “hanging by a thread”, called for urgent access to allow it to reach the thousands of Palestinians facing famine.

WFP in a statement issued in New York said it has reluctantly had to pause aid deliveries to north Gaza until conditions are in place that allow for safe distributions.

“The decision to pause deliveries to the north of the Gaza Strip has not been taken lightly, as we know it means the situation there will deteriorate further and more people risk dying of hunger,” the agency said.

It added that it is “deeply committed” to urgently reaching desperate people across the war-torn enclave “but the safety and security to deliver critical food aid and for the people receiving it – must be ensured”.

UN and humanitarian partners had warned of the risk of famine in northern Gaza by May unless conditions there improved decisively.

WFP said that its deliveries to northern Gaza had resumed on Sunday after a three-week suspension after the strike on an UN Palestine relief agency truck and due to the absence of a functioning humanitarian notification system.

On Sunday, as one of its convoys moved towards Gaza City, it was surrounded by crowds of hungry people close to the Wadi Gaza checkpoint.

WFP said “First fending off multiple attempts by people trying to climb aboard our trucks, then facing gunfire once we entered Gaza City, our team was able to distribute a small quantity of the food along the way,”.

The agency added that the second convoy’s journey north faced “complete chaos and violence” due to the collapse of civil order.

It noted that several trucks were looted between Khan Younis and Deir al Balah and a truck driver was beaten.

“The remaining flour was spontaneously distributed off the trucks in Gaza city, amidst high tension and explosive anger.”

WFP emphasized that it will seek ways to resume deliveries in a responsible manner as soon as possible.

It underscored the need “significantly” higher volumes of food coming into the Gaza Strip from multiple routes, and for crossing points to the north of Gaza to be open.

“A functioning humanitarian notification system and a stable communication network are needed. And security, for our staff and partners as well as for the people we serve, must be facilitated,” the agency said.

“Gaza is hanging by a thread and WFP must be enabled to reverse the path towards famine for thousands of desperately hungry people.”

WHO is evacuating patients from the Nasser hospital complex in Khan Younis after Israeli military operations and access restrictions

The health agency led 2 successful missions, evacuated 32 critical patients, including 2 children.

The high-risk missions were conducted in close partnership with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The situation at the hospital continues to remain dire, the agency stated.

WHO said it has no electricity or running water, and medical waste and garbage are creating a breeding ground for disease.

Staff said the destruction around the hospital was “indescribable”, noting that the area was surrounded by burnt and destroyed buildings, heavy layers of debris, with no road accessible roads.

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