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Middle East: Many dead after rush for aid supplies in Gaza

Middle East: Many dead after rush for aid supplies in Gaza

Aid workers can hardly find words to describe the terrible conditions in the Gaza Strip. And then there is a disaster on an aid convoy. Now the World Security Council is getting involved.

A desperate attempt to grab some food resulted in a disaster in the Gaza Strip. At least 104 people were killed in the crush and chaos around the trucks, the Hamas-controlled health authority reported.

The information cannot initially be independently verified. The circumstances are completely unclear. The tragedy occurred on the day the 30,000 death mark was passed since the start of the Israeli military offensive.

World Security Council meets

The health authority accused the Israeli army of attacking the crowd waiting as aid arrived in the city of Gaza. The information could not initially be independently verified. Israel’s army said dozens of people were killed and injured in the crush and by moving trucks.

The incident is also concerning the UN Security Council. The most powerful UN body is scheduled to meet behind closed doors today.

Israeli media, citing army sources, reported that part of the crowd approached Israeli soldiers for an unspecified reason and endangered them. The military initially fired warning shots into the air and fired at the legs of those who approached the soldiers anyway. This information could not be independently verified either.

The situation in the Gaza Strip is desolate: in addition to the dead, there are more than 70,000 injured and thousands still missing under the rubble. Israel explains its ongoing attacks by saying it wants to destroy the terrorist structures in the Gaza Strip after terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups committed unprecedented massacres in Israel on October 7th. The attacks plunge hundreds of thousands of children, the elderly, the sick, mothers and fathers into misery. Life has become hell for around 2.2 million people. Some highlights:

Food supply

A Palestinian woman told the German Press Agency that her 30-day-old daughter had starved to death due to the food shortage. Amna Hajjad said she couldn’t find enough to eat and was therefore unable to breastfeed her baby adequately. The three older children could hardly move because of hunger. They only eat one meal a day. Because pregnant women are stressed, children are born prematurely and die because there is no care for the newborns, reports the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).

One in four people in the Gaza Strip, at least 576,000 people, are “at risk of catastrophic levels of deprivation and hunger,” the World Food Program (WFP) warned in the UN Security Council. Patients in hospitals and people on the streets begged for a glass of water or a piece of bread, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.

Even before the war, food, water, fuel and much more had to be brought from Israel. There were 500 trucks a day. Today the need is much greater because of a lack of local production, but in February an average of just under 100 trucks per day entered the Gaza Strip, according to the UN Palestinian relief agency UNRWA. According to the UN emergency relief office OCHA, there is enough food and drinking water for the entire population. However, Israeli authorities constantly refused entry permits to convoys.

health care

Hadi Kamal reported to dpa from the Gaza Strip that he could not afford medication for his six children when they were sick. This makes the situation even worse for the family, said the 52-year-old, who worked in a supermarket before the war.

Of what were once 36 hospitals, only twelve are still partially in emergency operation, even though the need has risen rapidly with tens of thousands of injured people, as the WHO reports. They barely have any electricity or fuel for generators. Operations are sometimes carried out by candlelight on the floor, and injured people experience horror because painkillers and anesthesia are missing. Chronically ill patients hardly receive any care anymore because there is no medication or electricity to operate dialysis machines.

Many families are unable to bring the injured or sick to hospitals for days because there is shooting around the buildings. When they arrive, wounds are sometimes so infected that limbs have to be amputated. According to the WHO, amputations are also carried out because there are no specialists to save limbs and no room for operations lasting several hours. According to the UNFPA, newborns die because pregnant women often suffer premature births in bombardments and while fleeing.

Everyday

Ensuring the basic needs of life takes up the entire day. Every journey is difficult because streets are bombed and there are piles of rubble everywhere. In some places there is only one toilet for more than 400 people. People have to defecate on the streets. There are hardly any washing facilities. Sewage treatment plants and water pumping stations are barely running due to a lack of fuel. Few bakeries still have flour for bread. Crowds of people wait there. To get some drinking water you have to queue somewhere else.

With solar panels able to generate electricity, people are lining up to charge cell phones. There are no hygiene products for women or diapers for children. Many families have taken in orphans. Children were constantly injured in the rubble. According to the UN Children’s Fund Unicef, many children are in shock. But parents have neither the time nor the energy to give them the emotional security they need.

Reside

By the beginning of January, according to a UN analysis of satellite images, almost one in three buildings – 94,000 residential units – had been destroyed or damaged. Israel says its forces only destroy hideouts of Hamas or other terrorist organizations.

People often escape – sometimes with just a few minutes’ warning – with only what they are wearing. Thousands have been displaced several times. 1.5 million people have now sought protection in the southern city of Rafah. They camp in small spaces under plastic tarpaulins or in tents, sometimes on the side of the road.

schools

The routine of daily school attendance, which is so important for children, is cancelled. Most school buildings have become refugee camps. They are not safe there: According to the organization, more than 400 people were killed and more than 1,300 injured in attacks in the 180 UNRWA schools used as refuges.

In the cramped conditions and the lack of toilets and washing facilities, diarrhea, skin and respiratory diseases spread. 90 percent of children under the age of five have had at least one infectious disease, the WHO reported. Families also worry about young girls who are more likely to become victims of sexual violence while living in shelters or on the streets.

Security

Because the need is so great, the few aid convoys that arrive are sometimes stopped and cleared out after just a few hundred meters. Television images show desperate people defending aid packages against others with sticks. According to OCHA, there are now also signs of criminal activity in the Gaza Strip. Gangs take material that later turns up on black markets.

Source: Stern

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