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War: Middle East: UN expert warns of “massive catastrophe”

War: Middle East: UN expert warns of “massive catastrophe”

The fighting in Khan Yunis is causing many people to leave the city. If there were a real mass exodus, it would have devastating consequences.

A mass exodus from the embattled town of Khan Yunis to the border town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip could have devastating consequences for the civilian population, according to a UN human rights expert.

The city on the border with Egypt is already home to more than 1.3 million of the 2.2 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, said Ajith Sunghay. The situation there is already very tense because of the masses of internally displaced people and a lack of food, said the head of the UN human rights office for the Palestinian territories in a video link from Jordan.

“If many people flee Chan Junis and other places, it will lead to a massive disaster,” Sunghay said. A mass exodus to Rafah could lead to “unrest and a complete breakdown of public order.” According to Sunghay, if the fighting between the Israeli army and the Islamist Palestinian organization Hamas moved to Rafah, the civilian population would no longer have a chance to escape.

The UN human rights office in Geneva has repeatedly called for the protection of the Palestinian civilian population in letters and public appeals to Israeli authorities. “We have not received an official response,” Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said.

Source: Stern

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