UN Describes Major Obstacles in Getting Relief to Gaza

(UnitedVoice.com) – The United States, other countries, and private organizations have all been working to get food into the Gaza Strip. The region was already suffering from extreme poverty, regular power outages, and lack of clean water before the war between Israel and Hamas began. All of those problems have become substantially worse in recent months.

The United Nations recently warned of an imminent famine in Gaza. There are many obstacles to getting food and water into the region.

Crisis in Gaza

In February, the United Nations issued a press release warning that humanitarian officials want an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Experts briefed the UN Security Council and warned it about an impending famine.

Ramesh Rajasingham, the UN director of coordination for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the situation is very “grim.” He warned that more than half a million people in the Gaza Strip are “one step away from famine,” and there could be a complete agricultural collapse by May.

Rajasingham also said the humanitarian organizations that want to send food into the region face overwhelming obstacles to sending the “bare minimum of supplies.” Without a ceasefire, he said, very little help will be possible.

Maurizio Martina, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s deputy director-general, told the Security Council that Gaza’s entire population is in a “crisis,” saying the supply has been impacted in many ways. He urged Israel to reopen the border crossings and enact a ceasefire.

Some of the council members accused Israel of using starvation as a method of warfare. They called on Israel to respect international law and not use hunger as a war tactic.

Currently, Israel controls almost all of Gaza’s borders. The nation is allowing limited humanitarian deliveries in the country. The situation is especially dire in Northern Gaza, where much of the bombing has been focused.

Deliveries Begin

On March 15, a ship towing a barge with 200 tons of food arranged by Chef José Andrés’ organization, World Central Kitchen, arrived in Gaza. The food was being moved to the northern part of the country, where there have been an increased number of reports of children starving to death.

Israel has also delivered approximately 254,000 tons of humanitarian aid, 165,000 tons of which is food, to Gaza since the beginning of the war. The US is working with its allies to build a floating dock that will work as a port, allowing ships to offload food to feed the starving population. It’s not clear when the dock will be completed.

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