UN food deliveries 'much more likely to be impeded or denied' to areas requiring coordination within Gaza: OCHA

'We don't get an explanation for denials' from Israel, says UN humanitarian office spokesperson

15:28 - 9/04/2024 Tuesday
File photo
File photo

UN food deliveries in Gaza are "much more likely to be impeded or denied" compared to other humanitarian aid, and aid for northern Gaza is three times more likely to be denied, said the UN humanitarian office on Tuesday.

"The statistics tell us that UN uncoordinated food deliveries are much more likely to be impeded or denied access to areas requiring coordination within Gaza than any other humanitarian issue," Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told a briefing in Geneva.

"Food convoys that should be going particularly to the north, where 70% of people face famine conditions, are three times more likely to be denied than any other humanitarian combined with other kinds of material," he explained.

Food aid distribution inside Gaza is a "major issue" due to well-known security problems with the breakdown of law and order, he said. However, he continued, there is an obligation of the belligerents, and in particular Israel as the power occupying Gaza, to facilitate and ensure humanitarian access does not stop at the border.

"Half of the convoys we were trying to send to the north with food were denied by the same Israeli authorities," he added.

Laerke also stressed that Israeli authorities fail to give any justification for blocking the food aid, saying that when they "say no, it ends there."

"We don't get an explanation," he added.

Israel has waged a military offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack led by Hamas in which some 1,200 Israelis were killed.

Over 33,200 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have since been killed in Gaza, and nearly 76,000 have been injured, besides mass destruction and displacement.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population of over 2 million, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

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