INDEPENDENT NEWS

Widespread Destruction Across Khan Younis As Gazans ‘struggle To Survive’

Published: Fri 12 Apr 2024 01:36 PM
People in Gaza are struggling to survive, said the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, who was part of a team carrying out an assessment mission on Wednesday in the southern city of Khan Younis following the Israeli military withdrawal last week.
“Humanitarians are working hard to support them, but we need security, access and reliable facilitation by Israeli forces, whose responsibilities don’t end when supplies are dropped off at the border,” said Jamie McGoldrick.
Every building the team visited and most they could see had been damaged, with paved roads reduced to dirt tracks.
The team inspected a UN warehouse, four medical centres and eight schools. They reported seeing very significant damage in all but one of those buildings.
Speaking at the Fukhari Shelter and a Palestine relief agency (UNRWA) school, Mr. McGoldrick said the UN was providing services for 116,000 people in just that one location.Streets littered with bombs:
He said the community there needs more supplies and support, including with food, water, health and sanitation.
Streets and public spaces in Khan Younis are littered with unexploded ordnance, posing severe risks to civilians, especially children.
The team found unexploded 1,000-pound bombs lying on the main intersections and inside schools.
Residents described dire shortages of food and water and the loss of critical health services due to the destruction of Al-Nasser and Al-Amal hospitals.Liaising with Israeli military:
Mr. McGoldrick represented UN humanitarians and partners on Wednesday in a meeting with the Southern Command of the Israeli Defense Forces, as well as COGAT, the Israeli body responsible for the flow of aid in Gaza.
The veteran coordinator presented a list of requests to improve the delivery of assistance throughout the enclave at the necessary scale to avert looming widescale famine.
For Muslim Palestinians, the end of Eid Al Fitr comes as Gazans are trapped in “one of the most brutal wars in recent history”, said UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini on Thursday.
“It is very hard to celebrate amid de-humanisation, pain and grieving hearts,” he said on X, calling once again for a ceasefire in Gaza and elsewhere.UN will stay and deliver:
Speaking to journalists at the noon briefing in New York, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said “we will continue to work with all those committed to alleviating the humanitarian suffering in Gaza and to advocate for principled and safe aid delivery.
“That is our commitment and obligations to our teams and to the people we serve.”
Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that one of their vehicles was hit by live ammunition on Wednesday while waiting to enter northern Gaza.
The agency said the incident has been raised with the relevant Israeli authorities.
“Unless humanitarian aid workers are protected, in accordance with international humanitarian law, aid cannot reach people in need,” said UNICEF in a statement.

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