UN halts aid to Gaza amid communications blackout
After Internet and telephone services in the besieged enclave collapsed due to a lack of fuel, the UN was obliged to halt supply of food and other needs to Gaza on Friday, warning of the growing threat of widespread hunger.
Summary of the conflict
- Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas are at war in the Israel-Hamas war. The war began on October 7, 2023, when Hamas militants attacked southern Israel from the Gaza Strip. The attack murdered over 1,200 individuals, the majority of whom were civilians, and seized over 200 hostages.
- Israel retaliated with airstrikes and a Gaza siege. Israel has also ordered the evacuation of Palestinians from northern Gaza.
- The battle has aggravated Gaza’s humanitarian predicament. According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.6 million people have been displaced, and 22 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals remain closed. Laboratories in Israel and the West Bank remain idle, and most academic work has ceased or stalled.
The United Nations Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza:
- Due to the failure of Internet and telephone connections, the UN was compelled to cease deliveries of food and commodities to Gaza.
- The failure in communication and the possibility of a broad humanitarian crisis were attributed to a lack of fuel.
Restriction in Israel:
- Previously, Israel had blocked the entry of fuel, fearing that it may be diverted for military reasons by Hamas.
- The blockade of food, water, and other supplies was also imposed, allowing only a limited amount of relief from Egypt, which humanitarian workers felt was insufficient.
Fuel Allowance is Limited:
- Israel made a concession, agreeing to allow “very minimal” daily fuel shipments into Gaza for UN use and communication infrastructure.
- The approved amount appeared insufficient to sustain key services such as water systems and hospitals.
- The failure of Internet and telephone services as a result of the gasoline scarcity has resulted in a communications blackout in Gaza.
- This blackout not only isolates Gaza’s residents from one another and the outside world, but it also makes humanitarian aid attempts difficult to coordinate.
The Effect on UNRWA Operations:
- Due to the blackout, the UN organization for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, was unable to send in its aid convoy.
- A prolonged blackout could result in the suspension of UN humanitarian activities in Gaza, aggravating the catastrophe.
Allegations and Military Operations:
- Israeli soldiers hinted at a probable expansion of the onslaught in Gaza’s south, while operations in the north continued.
- Troops were examining Gaza’s largest hospital for signs of a Hamas command centre, which Hamas and hospital officials denied was there.
Victims and Missing Persons:
- More than 11,400 Palestinians have been murdered throughout the conflict, with two-thirds of them being women and youngsters.
- Another 2,700 people are reported missing, presumed to be buried beneath the rubble.
Egypt’s limited assistance:
- Since the commencement of the crisis, Gaza has only gotten 10% of its daily food deliveries from Egypt.
- Following an American request, Israel decided to release a limited amount of fuel.
- The international community may need to address the larger humanitarian situation to find a long-term solution.