For First Time in Weeks UN Aid Teams Reach Gaza City

For First Time in Weeks UN Aid Teams Reach Gaza City By Fathimath Nasli - March 13, 2024
For First Time in Weeks UN Aid Teams Reach Gaza City

UN Aid Teams Reach Gaza City

Aid for 25,000 people has reached Gaza City for the first time in weeks, the UN World Food Program (WFP) announced, in a call for daily aid missions and better access.

"WFP delivered enough food for 25,000 people to Gaza City early Tuesday in first successful convoy to the north since 20 February," the UN agency said in a tweet.

"With people in northern Gaza on the brink of famine, we need deliveries every day and we need entry points directly into the north," it stressed.

The news came as UN humanitarians welcomed the announcement on Tuesday that an aid ship, Open Arms, had left Cyprus for Gaza carrying 200 tones of relief supplies. But they stressed that it was "not a substitute" for overland assistance to Gazans on the verge of famine.

Speaking in a press conference in Geneva, spokesperson for UN aid coordination office (OCHA) Jens Laerke said: "Any food and other emergency aid that comes into Gaza, as we all know, is desperately needed; there is no question about it. So, it's highly appreciated But it's not a substitute for the overland transport of food and other emergency aid into Gaza and particularly northern Gaza. It cannot make up for that." In a related development, UN World Food Program chief Cindy McCain warned that famine is "imminent" in Gaza and will only be avoided if humanitarian there increases "exponentially".

Speaking in Rome, the WFP Executive Director underlined grave concerns for people "across Gaza, particularly the north, which is in the grip for humanitarian catastrophe.

"If we do not exponentially increase the size of aid going into the northern areas, famine is imminent," she said.

McCain explained that WFP had been forced to pause aid deliveries there owing to concerns "for the safety of our staff and due to the complete breakdown of law and order." The UN agency head insisted that all options were being explored to alleviate the hunger crisis in northern Gaza, including air drops, but "they will never deliver the necessary volume that road access can".

Road access "and the use of existing ports and crossings is the only way to get aid into Gaza at the scale that is now required," the WFP chief insisted. "We need 300 trucks of food entering Gaza every single day." The Ministry of Health in Gaza warned Tuesday that hunger will kill all residents of the northern Gaza Strip, as aid is very limited and not enough for anyone, stressing that the world will witness large number of starvation victims in the coming days.

Source: QNA

By Fathimath Nasli - March 13, 2024

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