War in Gaza continues as forcibly displaced people run out of space to shelter — Global Issues


Thousands of people are sheltering in UNRWA schools… and government buildings,” the UN agency for Palestinian refugees told UN News, adding that others “are already starting to return, which tells us about a lack of space in other areas”.

UNRWA also reiterated warnings that living conditions are “beyond unbearable”, with mountains of garbage and rubbish piled high along roads and near makeshift shelters.

According to UNRWA, an estimated 85,000 people have left the Shujaiyah district in eastern Gaza City in the northern enclave over the past week. Latest data showed that at least 66,700 more Gazans were displaced on Tuesday from eastern Khan Younis and Rafah, both in the south, following new evacuation orders issued on Monday night.

Poor shelters and waste

Outside the UN buildings that have been converted into shelters, many more thousands of families are now living “in the shells of bombed-out buildings or among piles of rubbish,” UNRWA said, before repeating the UN health agency’s warnings, WHOof an increase in infectious diseases, including diarrhea and hepatitis, especially among malnourished children with weakened immune systems.

“Military actions in the Khan Younis area could further hamper people’s access to safe water, while the lack of sanitation facilities contributes significantly to the spread of diseases,” UNRWA stressed.

Child Tragedy

In addition to the deadly risks of continued Israeli bombardment at night, ordinary Gazans face the threat of unexploded weapons. According to the UN Aid Coordination Office, OCHA, a nine-year-old girl was killed and three others were injured when an unnamed device detonated in Khan Younis on Saturday, June 29.

“Unexploded ordnance poses a huge threat to people, as families are forced to relocate to areas that have been bombed or previously seen heavy fighting,” OCHA said.

UN mine action experts have previously noted that about 10 percent of munitions fired in the conflict are expected to fail.

This poses a deadly danger to civilians and especially to the many children who spend “six to eight hours a day collecting water and food, often carrying heavy loads and walking long distances”, UNRWA said.

Emergency line in danger

To help the most vulnerable people in Gaza, the UN agency continues to distribute water, food and other essential non-food items with the help of other partners.

But the scale of the need remains enormous after new evacuation orders were issued Monday night for eastern Khan Younis and Rafah, covering about a third of Gaza’s total area and the largest evacuation orders since October.

“UNRWA continues to provide critical water, food parcels, flour, diapers, mattresses, tarpaulins and health care, but it is becoming almost impossible for the UN to provide any response due to the Israeli-imposed siege, lack of fuel, lack of relief supplies, lack of security, breakdowns in law and order and increased criminality and now further displacement orders,” the UN agency said. These evacuation orders “again impact our security to move and access the crossing point to receive assistance.”

The latest figures from Gaza health authorities show that nearly 38,000 people have been killed and more than 87,000 wounded in the enclave since the war broke out on October 7. This followed Hamas-led terrorist attacks on several Israeli targets in southern Israel, killing some 1,250 people and taking more than 250 hostages.

West Bank Spiral

In a related development, OCHA reported that there have been 28 incidents of airstrikes in the West Bank since Oct. 7 – including two last week. “Fourteen children were among the 77 Palestinians killed in these airstrikes,” the UN relief agency said in an update on Wednesday, which also noted that at least 200 homes had been damaged during a recent operation by Israeli forces in the Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarm.

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