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World News In Brief: UN Aid Chief On Rafah, Gaza Fuel Shortage, Rising Hunger In Haiti

Published: Sat 25 May 2024 04:05 PM
Global uproar calling for an end to the Israeli incursion in Rafah “has grown too loud to ignore”, UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator Martin Griffiths said on Friday, in a fresh appeal for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages.
“With today’s adoption of Security Council resolution 2730 calling for the protection of humanitarian workers and the International Court of Justice’s order to open the Rafah crossing to provide aid at scale and stop the military offensive there, this is a moment of clarity,” he said in a statement.
“It is a moment to demand respect for the rules of war to which all are bound: Civilians must be allowed to seek safety. Humanitarian relief must be facilitated without obstruction. Aid workers and UN staff must be able to carry out their jobs in safety.”
More than a million people were sheltering in Rafah, located in southern Gaza, before the start of the offensive on 6 May.
Mr. Griffiths said the ground incursion “has been a tragedy beyond words”, displacing more than 800,000 people who are fleeing once again and arriving in areas that lack adequate shelter, latrines and clean water.
“It has cut off the flow of aid into southern Gaza and crippled a humanitarian operation already stretched beyond its breaking point,” he said.
Food distributions in the south have been halted, while fuel supply for “Gaza’s lifelines – bakeries, hospitals and water wells”, has slowed to a mere trickle.Heed the call
“Though Israel dismissed the international community's appeals to spare Rafah, the global clamor for an immediate stop to this offensive has grown too loud to ignore,” he said, referring to the developments at the Security Council and the UN’s top court on Friday.
“At a time when the people of Gaza are staring down famine; when hospitals are attacked and invaded; when aid organizations are blocked from reaching people in need; when civilians are under bombardment from north to south; it is more critical than ever to heed the calls made over the last seven months: Release the hostages. Agree a ceasefire. End this nightmare.”Lack of fuel at Gaza hospital puts newborns at risk
Aid organizations delivered roughly 15,000 litres of fuel to Al Aqsa Hospital in Gaza, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, reported on Friday.
UN children’s agency UNICEF warned that oxygen generators at the hospital will shut down without consistent delivery of fuel, putting the lives of more than 20 newborns at risk.
“It is critical that more fuel enters Gaza and that humanitarian organizations can work in safety as hostilities intensify,” OCHA said.
Meanwhile, just one hospital in northern Gaza, Al Awda, remains partially functionally but is not accessible.
Gaza’s remaining health facilities are struggling to operate amid ongoing shortages of fuel, equipment and medical items.
Entry of aid supplies into the enclave has been extremely limited since the start of the Israeli military incursion in Rafah governorate nearly three weeks ago.
Just over 900 aid trucks, including about 800 carrying food supplies, have entered Gaza since then.Half of Haiti could go hungry by June
The number of people in Haiti facing high levels of acute food insecurity could reach a record five million, or half of the population, by the end of June,.
The price of staple food remains high in the capital Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas amidst an already dire food security situation and rampant gang violence, OCHA said.
In mid-April, the cost of the food basket in the Ouest Department, where Port-au-Prince is located, was 20 per cent higher than in January.
The situation has not improved since, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), noting the resurgence of gang-related violence has put pressure on prices due to a scarcity of essential products.
If domestic agricultural production does not improve and insecurity persists, the price of staple foods is likely to remain high for the rest of this year.
Since early March, the World Food Programme (WFP) has provided hot meals to nearly 100,000 displaced people in 80 sites across the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area.

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