Over One Million in Rafah Enduring ‘Unthinkable Suffering’ – UN Relief Chief

Scenes from a displacement camp in Rafah, southern Gaza. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

The UN’s Relief Chief has emphasized that civilians must be protected, ahead of Israel’s planned ground invasion into Rafah.

UN Relief Chief Martin Griffiths has expressed concern for the more than one million Palestinians who are crammed into Rafah, as the Israeli army plans to invade the area. 

Many of the well over 1 million people who make up Rafah’s population today have endured unthinkable suffering,” Griffiths wrote on X on Friday.

His remarks came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed the army to draft a plan for evacuating the civilians in Rafah so that the ground offensive could go ahead. 

Rafah is a Public and Mental Health Disaster in the Making – UN Relief Chief

“Their homes have been destroyed, their streets mined, their neighborhoods shelled. They’ve been on the move for months, braving bombs, disease and hunger,” the UN chief stressed.

“Where are they supposed to go? How are they supposed to stay safe?” Griffiths asked, adding that there is nowhere left to go in Gaza.

“Civilians must be protected and their essential needs, including shelter, food and health, must be met,” he added.

Against International Law

Also on Friday, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, in response to a question from reporters, said “We are extremely worried about the fate of civilians in Rafah.”

“I think what is clear is that people need to be protected.  But we also do not want to see any forced displacement, forced mass displacement of people, which is, by definition, against their will,” he stated.

Dujarric added, “We would not support in any way forced displacement, which goes against international law.”

On Tuesday, the spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Jens Laerke, told a UN briefing in Geneva that “We can warn what might unfold with the ground invasion and we can make clear what the law says and … under international humanitarian law, indiscriminate bombing of densely populated areas may amount to war crimes.” 

‘Everything Possible’ Must Be Done to Avoid Intensified Hostilities in Rafah – UN

Despite the International Court of Justice’s provisional ruling, Israel continues its onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 28,064 Palestinians have been killed, and 67,611 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 8,000 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.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all of 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.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
Our Vision For Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders & Intellectuals Speak Out