Continuing restrictions hamper humanitarian access inside Gaza

One million people have been forced to flee in the past three weeks as heavy bombardment continues in Rafah in southern Gaza.
One million people have been forced to flee in the past three weeks as heavy bombardment continues in Rafah in southern Gaza.
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Humanitarians said that “security and humanitarian access conditions” have been further reduced since May because of increased violence in northern and southern Gaza, especially in Rafah, where Israeli forces continue their bombardment and military offensive.

“Despite the presence of a system to notify and coordinate humanitarian movements, impediments, delays, and denials of missions continue to frequently restrict the movement of humanitarian personnel and the delivery of assistance,” OCHA said in its latest humanitarian update.

UNICEF’s limited access

Humanitarian access restrictions have also affected the work of UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) which warns that over 3,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition will be unable to receive treatment if supplies cannot be distributed, according to its Chief of Communications in Palestine, Jonathan Crickx.

The agency reported that recent data from Palestine’s Ministry of Health reveals that more than 14,000 children have been reportedly killed amidst conflicts in Gaza, and thousands more injured.

There are no safe spaces. All of Gaza’s children have been exposed to the traumatic experiences of war, the consequences of which will last a lifetime,” UNICEF said in a statement.

The UN agency also reported that hundreds of thousands of children in the Gaza Strip have been internally displaced – several of them in Rafah now reside in tents or unstable housing.

“They need to be protected, along with the remaining services that they rely on, including medical facilities and shelter,” UNICEF said.

Struggle to survive

On Tuesday, The UN Palestine refugee agency (UNRWA) released a statement on X stating that ongoing conflicts have left civilians in Gaza without access to water since the unavailability of fuel has caused desalination plants to shut down.

Survival is a struggle. Families and children walk long distances in the heat for water,” UNRWA said. “People need water to live – Israeli authorities must provide access NOW.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) adds that there is only one hospital in Rafah city that provides health services in the area – United Arab Emirates Field Hospital – and that is only “partially functional, continuing to provide services to 37 patients inside the facility but is inaccessible to new patients.”

In a post on X on Tuesday, the UN health agency said hostilities in the area make accessing the hospital difficult.

Furthermore, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has only been able to reach 27,000 people in Rafah with hot meals. The agency said many people “face dire shortages of food, clean water, medical supplies and healthcare services.”

A call for a ceasefire

The UN led by the Secretary-General continues to call for an urgent ceasefire to end the civilian suffering.

WHO in Palestine on X on Tuesday said, “WHO calls for the protection of health care, unimpeded access for humanitarian aid, and a ceasefire in Gaza.”

Similarly, UNICEF is demanding an “immediate and long-lasting humanitarian ceasefire” coupled with “safe and unrestricted humanitarian access to and within the Gaza Strip, to reach affected populations”.

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