‘All Food Convoys Denied Access to North Gaza This Week’ – UNRWA Chief

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini meets with displaced people in southern Gaza. (Photo: Mohamed Hinnawi, via UNRWA)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

“With unimpeded access this man made starvation can still be averted.”

Israel blocked all food convoys from entering the northern Gaza Strip this week, the commissioner-general of the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, has said.

“All our food convoys have been denied access to North Gaza this week. With unimpeded access this man made starvation can still be averted,” Lazzarini said on X on Saturday.

His statement comes after Israel denied for a second time this week a food convoy to the north.

‘Catastrophic Food Insecurity’ – UN Officials Warn of Famine in Gaza

The last time UNRWA was able to send food aid to the north “was nearly 2 months ago,” Lazzarani stated. “I’ve said it many times: this is a man made hunger & looming famine which can still be averted.”

The UNRWA chief emphasized that the Israeli authorities “must allow delivering food aid at scale to the north including via UNRWA, the largest humanitarian organisation in Gaza.”

“Meanwhile, children will continue to die of malnutrition & dehydration under our watch. The unbearable cannot become the new normal,” Lazzarini added.

‘Act to Save Lives’

The World Food Programme (WFP) has also reiterated the need for “An immediate stop to the fighting” as well as “Full access for aid organizations to reach the entire civilian population.”

“A declaration of #famine means it’s too late. We must act now to save thousands of lives,” the world’s largest humanitarian organization said on X.

During a visit to the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing on Saturday,  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the long line of blocked trucks is “a moral outrage.”

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Guterres reportedly said Israel should give an “ironclad commitment” for access to humanitarian aid while renewing his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

“Here from this crossing, we see the heartbreak and heartlessness of it all. A long line of blocked relief trucks on one side of the gates, the long shadow of starvation on the other,” he said.

Guterres’ visit came as Israel faces global pressure to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza, amid spreading famine in the besieged enclave.

‘Intentional Campaign of Starvation’

The UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, said earlier this month “There is no doubt that this is genocide and that this is a campaign and intentional campaign of starvation by Israel against the Palestinian people in Gaza.”

At least 15 children have died from malnutrition and dehydration at the Kamal Adwan Hospital, according to Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.

15 Children Killed by Starvation in Gaza as Israel Continues to Block Aid

“When the war broke out, we saw people go hungry in unprecedented ways. We have never seen any community made to go hungry so quickly. Now what we are seeing is famine. Children are dying from malnutrition, and dehydration,” Fakhri stated.

“We have never seen children pushed into malnutrition so quickly in any conflict in modern history,” he added. “We see children dying from malnutrition, and dehydration, this is a stage of horror.”

Over 32,000 Killed

Currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians, Israel has been waging a devastating war on Gaza since October 7.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 32,226 Palestinians have been killed, and 74,518 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international organizations say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

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The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

Israel says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7. Israeli media published reports suggesting that many Israelis were killed on that day by ‘friendly fire.’

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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