Conflicts & War

Gaza grapples with devastation, shortages as volunteers struggle to deliver aid

Geneva/Cairo/Jerusalem, Oct 19 (EFE).- In Gaza, one in four houses has been damaged or destroyed by Israeli airstrikes, according to the United Nations, as the Palestinian enclave suffers from severe shortages of food and essential supplies.

Volunteers at the Egyptian border are hindered by the Israeli military blockade and ongoing bombings, making it difficult to reach Gaza.

The aerial strikes have damaged over 98,000 houses, or 25 percent of the total in Gaza, since Hamas attacks on Oct 7, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

OCHA said the estimate was conservative due to limited access to the worst affected areas, particularly in Gaza City.

The situation is dire, with health facilities and schools also coming under attack, resulting in hundreds of casualties.

Since Oct.7, the death toll in Gaza has risen to 3,478, including 853 children, with over 12,500 injured.

Israel has also seen casualties from Hamas attacks, with over 1,300 dead and 4,562 injured.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces and settlers have killed 64 and wounded 1,284.

The Israeli military orders for Gazans to move to the southern part of the strip have displaced over a million people.

According to the UN, Gaza has endured eight days without electricity, and running water is only available in Khan Younis.

The UN World Food Program reported that Gaza has only two weeks’ worth of food supplies, much of which is difficult to access due to hostilities.

Some 3,000 tons of humanitarian aid remain stranded at the Rafah crossing on Gaza’s border with Egypt, which remains closed.

Humanitarian workers at the Rafah crossing are growing increasingly frustrated as they are unable to access Gaza to deliver essential aid.

However, a glimmer of hope emerged following a promise from United States President Joe Biden, ensuring that Israel would open the crossing to facilitate aid delivery.

Heba Rashed, founder of the NGO Mersal Foundation, expressed the frustration of volunteers who want to assist Gaza but cannot do so.

“They want to help, and they have the aid, but they cannot enter,” said Rashed, whose team is in Rafah.

Rashed said the volunteers do not want to give up and are determined to stay put until aid can be delivered.

“We are all day with our cell phones in our hands, waiting for any signal to move,” said the director of the NGO.

The nonprofit has readied two truckloads of medicines and medical supplies and a team of doctors, nurses, and paramedics.

The Egyptian government has stated that the crossing is open on the Egyptian side but closed on the Palestinian side due to the Israeli military blockade. EFE

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