A humanitarian catastrophe is currently playing out in real time in the blockaded Gaza enclave, which is sure to spark a domino effect that can last for generations.
The value of human life in the enclave has been reduced to rubbles, just like the many buildings that once stood in Gaza.
Hospitals, schools, civilians, aid workers, and safe routes to deliver emergency assistance, essentially people and places supposed to be protected by international humanitarian law, have been left at the mercy of incessant airstrikes.
Anyone conversant with the alarming developments of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, can not deny the fact the humanitarian situation over there is dire.
Aside the scarcity of food and drinking water due to Israel’s restriction on electricity, fuel and water supplies to the enclave, there is also a shortage of medical supplies.
As such, Humanitarian aid is very much needed to offset the immediate effects of the ongoing conflict, which is teetering on the brink of regional escalation.
Of a truth, Gaza has been long dependent on humanitarian aid. Prior to the conflict, around 450 aid trucks were arriving in the enclave daily.
Now, with power, water and food supply cut off, coupled with daily rains of airstrikes, Gazans are practically counting the days to their death, living every minute with apprehension and fear.
If an airstrike doesn’t kill you, hunger and thirst will.
U.N. officials say at least 100 trucks daily are required to cover urgent needs
More than 200 trucks carrying 3,000 metric tons of aid have been waiting near the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip for days, a clear paradoxical situation as the UN Secretary-General puts it.
“There I saw a paradox…On the one hand, I saw hundreds of trucks teeming with food and other essential supplies. On the other hand, we know that just across the border, there are 2 million people – without water, food, fuel, electricity and medicine. Children, mothers, the elderly, the sick. Full trucks on one side, empty stomachs on the other.”Antonio Guterres
One cannot help but agree with Guteress that “These are not just trucks but a lifeline. They are the difference between life and death.”
Well…the somewhat good news is that a convoy comprising 20 trucks carried medical aid, food and water entered Gaza on Saturday, October 21, 2023, followed by 17 trucks the day after.
However, the total of 37 trucks is nowhere near the urgently needed daily convoy of 100 trucks.
To add salt to injury, fuel, a commodity of utmost importance, was lacking. Fuel is needed for among other things, the running of desalination plants for potable water.
The United Nations says the lives of at least 120 newborn babies in incubators in Gaza’s hospitals are at risk as fuel runs out.
In a statement, the Head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Philippe Lazzarini underscored the need for fuel.
“Without fuel, there will be no water, no functioning hospitals and bakeries. Without fuel, aid will not reach many civilians in desperate need. Without fuel, there will be no humanitarian assistance,” he noted.
If fuel runs out, livelihood will be brought to a grinding halt.
Consistent Aid Supply Is Key
Compared to the situation on ground, the number of humantarian made available to Gaza is minuscule.
Addressing the issue requires a tangible increase in the number of aid trucks made available to Gaza and the frequency of aid supplies. At least 100 aid trucks per day as the UN estimated should be implemented to ease the burden on Gazans.
Additionally, the motive for the aid supply cannot be achieved if Israeli bombardments do not cease. Recent happenings at the beleaguered Strip show that until the airstrikes cease, no where is safe. Airstrikes have been hitting parts of Southern Gaza even though Israel ordered Palestinians in the North to seek refuge there.
How can someone venture out of a shelter to collect humanitarian supplies if structures around are being hit intermittently? And how would aid workers distribute aid efficiently in the chaotic aftermath of strikes?
The silence of the U.S and other countries on the call for Israel to ceasefire is deafening. Gaza is battered with strikes which has left more than 4000 individuals dead.
With Israel’s ground invasion looming, the death toll is sure to rise the more. To ensure smooth passage and delivery of aid to those who really need it, a ceasefire will be a good place to start from.