Conflicts & War

Shrouds, food, medicine and water: aid still waiting to enter Gaza from Egypt

Cairo, Oct 17 (EFE).- Dozens of trucks in Arish were told to head to the Rafah border crossing, which connects Egypt with the Gaza Strip, giving hope to hundreds of volunteers that much needed humanitarian aid can finally enter the besieged enclave.

The head of the rescue and volunteer department of the Egyptian NGO Resala, Adel Abdelfatah, told Efe that they received notice early Tuesday morning to move five trucks of aid they have deployed, along with 50 Egyptian volunteers, to Rafah, but the situation is still “complicated” and they are still waiting at the crossing.

Egypt had planned to open the Rafah crossing on Monday to allow for the entry of humanitarian aid and for foreigners to leave the Palestinian enclave, but Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Sukri said that Israel has still not given permission to reopen the border.

Amid the siege imposed by Israel in the wake of Oct. 7’s surprise attack by Hamas, the Islamist group which de facto rules the Strip, what Gazans need most, apart from food, water, and medicine, is white shrouds.

“They asked us for white sheets,” said Abdelfatah, to wrap bodies according to Muslim burial rites.

Some 700 sheets have been loaded onto Resala’s five trucks.

On Monday, the United Nations agency for the Palestinians (UNRWA) reported that “there are not enough body bags for the dead in Gaza at the moment.”

The number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war between Israel and the enclave’s militias reached 3,000 on Tuesday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, while the number of wounded is more than 12,500. On the Israeli side, Hamas’ attack left more than 1,400 dead.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) on Tuesday renewed its call for continued humanitarian access to the enclave, where hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence are in desperate need of food, water and medical supplies.

“The situation is dire. It is unlike anything we have seen before here,” said the agency’s head in Palestine, Samer Abdeljaber, noting that his teams “are working round the clock to distribute food and ensure the electronic voucher system is still functioning.”

It is “heart wrenching” to see that “hundreds of people are queuing for hours every day to get bread rations at bakeries across Gaza, while food is there, ready for distribution, just across the border,” he added.

Resala’s Abdelfatah noted that the main “problem of getting into Gaza to deliver the aid is the roads, which have been destroyed by shelling”.

The Egyptian foreign minister confirmed Tuesday to the British broadcaster BBC that, since Oct. 7, Israel has bombed the Rafah border crossing four times, and that “there is still no authorization for safe passage from the other side.” EFE


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