Conflicts & War

47,000 displaced Palestinians are sheltered in UN-run Gaza schools

Geneva, May 18 (EFE).- About 47,000 Palestinians displaced by Israeli attacks have taken refuge in 58 schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, according to UN spokesperson for Humanitarian Affairs Jens Laerke.

They represent a majority of close to 60,000 people displaced by the violent escalation of the Israel-Palestine crisis, Laerke told a press conference in Geneva.

Alongside World Health Organization spokesperson Margaret Harris, they warned the undersupplied buildings — with only 6-8 hours of electricity a day in the enclave — cannot safely shelter the crowds of displaced Palestinians, considering the high risk of Covid-19 infections.

“It is making physical distancing almost impossible,” said Harris, adding that the serious damage on Gaza’s public health infrastructure risks enabling a surge of Covid-19 and other diseases.

Up to 91 strikes have targeted healthcare infrastructure in Palestinian territories since the start of Ramadan, 71 in the West Bank and 21 in Gaza, wounding at least 41 medical workers, according to the WHO.

Airstrikes have damaged 19 healthcare facilities in the Gaza strip, including the complete destruction of a first care clinic, and another six hospitals, one of which has stopped all activity as a result.

Israeli attacks have struck 132 buildings, destroying or badly damaging more than 600 apartments and stores while rendering another 300 of them uninhabitable, according to Palestinian sources cited by the UN.

More than 220 Palestinians have been killed in the recent outbreak of violence and another 6,000 injured. In Israel, 10 people have been killed and another 800 injured.

Laerke welcomed Israel’s decision to open the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza strip, but demanded the opening of the Erez crossing as well.

The Israeli Defense Forces said in a tweet that the Erez crossing was targeted by mortar fire after it was re-opened.

A general strike was underway in the occupied West Bank and mixed cities in Israel in protest of Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip.

The majority of Palestinian and Israeli Arab-run shops, schools, businesses and public institutions in these areas were closed throughout Tuesday. EFE


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