UNRWA Chief Warns Man-Made Famine Gripping Gaza as Israel Continues Strikes

Thu Apr 18 2024
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GAZA: Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has warned that a man-made famine is “tightening its grip” across the Gaza Strip. He accused Israel of blocking aid deliveries and seeking to end UNRWA’s activities in the enclave to strip Palestinians of their refugee status.

“Today, an insidious campaign to end UNRWA’s operations is underway, with serious implications for international peace and security,” the UNRWA told the UN Security Council.

UNRWA, which provides essential services including education, health, and aid to millions of Palestinians across various regions, has faced challenges amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in Gaza. Lazzarini emphasized the critical role of UNRWA in maintaining humanitarian assistance amidst the turmoil.

“In the north, infants and young children have begun to die of malnutrition and dehydration,” Lazzarini lamented, underscoring the dire humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. Despite the availability of food and clean water across the border, UNRWA has been denied permission to deliver aid, exacerbating the suffering of Palestinian civilians.

Meanwhile, Israel launched further airstrikes on Gaza on Thursday, escalating tensions in the region following a recent attack attributed to Iran. The Israeli military reported targeting various areas in the densely populated Palestinian territory.

Efforts towards achieving an Israel-Hamas truce and securing the release of hostages have stalled. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s stance on self-defense against perceived threats from Iran.

The relentless bombardment campaign by Israel since October 7 has exacted a heavy toll on Gaza, with the latest figures from the territory’s health ministry indicating at least 33,970 casualties, mostly women and children. Meanwhile, Gaza’s civil defense reported the recovery of additional bodies in Khan Younis, while Israeli airstrikes ravaged the southern city of Rafah.

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