Gazans living packed into unhealthy shelters, on streets without enough food: UN official
People in Gaza are desperate, living packed into unhealthy shelters or on the streets without enough food, the deputy executive director of the World Food Program (WFP) said Friday.
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In a statement, Carl Skau said that fear can be seen in the eyes of women and children in the besieged enclave, where more than 17,000 civilians have been killed in ongoing Israeli attacks.
His remarks came after his visit to the Gaza Strip along with Corinne Fleischer, the WFP's regional director for the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe, and Palestine Country Director Samer AbdelJaber to show their commitment to the Palestinian people and to support WFP employees.
"Confusion at warehouses, distribution points with thousands of desperate hungry people, supermarkets with bare shelves, and overcrowded shelters with bursting bathrooms. The dull thud of bombs was the soundtrack for our day," said Skau.
He noted that Gazans are "living packed into unhealthy shelters or on the streets as winter closes in, they are sick, and they do not have enough food."
"We visited Gaza today, and nothing quite prepared me for the fear, the chaos, and the despair we encountered," said Skau.
Praising the WFP staff for their efforts, he pointed out the dire situation in Gaza, saying, “With just a fraction of the needed food supplies coming in, a fatal absence of fuel, interruptions to communications systems and no security for our staff or for the people we serve at food distributions, we cannot do our job.”
He said the seven-day pause showed that humanitarian aid can be delivered if conditions allow.
“We have food on trucks, but we need more than one crossing. And once the trucks are inside, we need free and safe passage to reach Palestinians wherever they are. This will only be possible with a humanitarian cease-fire and ultimately, we need this conflict to end.”
Israel resumed its military offensive on the Gaza Strip on Dec. 1 after the end of a week-long humanitarian pause with the Palestinian group Hamas.
At least 17,487 Palestinians have been killed and more than 46,480 others injured in relentless air and ground attacks on the enclave since Oct. 7 following a cross-border attack by Hamas.