Israel-Hamas Conflict: UN Secretary-General António Guterres has issued a heartfelt appeal for humanitarian assistance in Gaza as vital supplies, including clean water, dwindle in the wake of Israel’s blockade.
The situation has rapidly deteriorated since the latest conflict erupted following Hamas’ attack on multiple locations inside Israel on October 7th, prompting Israel to declare war. The conflict has resulted in numerous casualties and forced hundreds of thousands to flee.
“In this dramatic moment, as we are on the verge of the abyss in the Middle East, it is my duty as Secretary-General of the United Nations to make two strong humanitarian appeals,” Guterres stated.
His first appeal is directed at Hamas, urging them to immediately release hostages without conditions. The second appeal is addressed to Israel, asking them to provide rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid to the civilians in Gaza. Guterres emphasized that these objectives should not be used as bargaining chips and must be implemented as they are “the right thing to do.”
Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General, also made similar pleas, revealing that humanitarian assistance from UNRWA has been halted in Gaza. The region faces a dire situation with no access to water, food, or medicine, and even body bags are running out.
At least one million people have been displaced in just one week, and more are fleeing the area, causing a significant humanitarian crisis. UNRWA schools and buildings have been accommodating over 400,000 displaced individuals, despite not being equipped as emergency shelters. Most of the UNRWA staff in Gaza have also been displaced.
Tensions are escalating in the region, with exchanges of fire observed along the Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel. UNIFIL, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, is actively working to de-escalate the situation and calls on all parties to cease fire.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is increasing its capacity to provide immediate access to medical care in the border area between Israel and south Lebanon due to heightened tensions. Two shipments have arrived to support injured patients in Lebanon, whose health system has been severely affected by various crises.
In this volatile environment, international humanitarian organizations and the United Nations are working tirelessly to alleviate the suffering and provide much-needed assistance to those affected by the conflict.