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With no ceasefire in sight, Gaza battles famine, epidemic amid Israeli assault

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With no ceasefire in sight, Gaza battles famine, epidemic amid Israeli assault

New Delhi, Jan 14 (Ajit Weekly News) War claims a great price which is paid by those who did not choose it. The amount of destruction in the face of a relentless war inevitably results in a humanitarian crisis, just as Gaza has been battling amid ceaseless assault by Israel.

Nearly 100 days of the armed conflict has led to disruption of basic amenities and collapse of health and sanitation systems have escalated the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, where at least 22,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed since Israel announced war on Hamas on October 7, 2023.

As agencies try to bring in more food, water, medical supplies and shelter equipment into Gaza, it was announced in December that Israel would set up a second security check post at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, at the border between Israel, Gaza and Egypt, in order to screen humanitarian aid coming through Egypt.

Humanitarian agencies have said that the rate of aid coming into Gaza has been dwindling after the temporary cease fire in December ended.

Decimation of primary healthcare system there has exacerbated the urgency of providing medical care to increasing numbers of victims.

Added to this is rampant malnutrition which has become difficult to contain, and spread of anemia and dehydration among children that has increased threefold, according to reports.

In the absence of clean water and sanitation, shortage of food, and cold and wet weather, stomach, respiratory and other ailments are fast taking the shape of an epidemic in the region.

The World Health Organization has announced that there are no functioning hospitals in Gaza.

Amid rows of dead bodies and throngs of injured, patients who have been injured for more than a month await surgery. There are also many who are contracting infections after surgery because there is not enough post-operative care.

Further, as it comes to light from sources on ground zero, the region is pushed to the brink of a famine. As per the UN, over 90 per cent of Palestinians in Gaza have regularly gone without food for an entire day.

With about half of the population (nearly 2.2 million) at risk of starvation, Gaza has met the first criterion of a famine, where 20 per cent of the population face extreme scarcity of food.

To compound woes further, thorough inspections at check points at two border crossings by Israeli authorities, strict time windows for passage for trucks carrying aid, bottlenecks and numerous safety concerns while traversing through rubble and ruins are further exacerbating the humanitarian concern in Gaza.

Aid groups also say that their trucks at times come under Israeli fire despite efforts to coordinate convoys with the Israeli army in advance.

The Israeli government denied creating obstruction to any humanitarian aid, instead, blamed Hamas for shortages, accusing them of appropriating some aid for their own use.

However, Western and Arab authorities assert that Hamas is known to have accumulated food, fuel and medicine.

Agencies and aid workers say that cease fire is the pre-requisite to alleviating the humanitarian catastrophe unleashing in Gaza.

The war has claimed nearly 23,000 lives in Gaza alone, and this includes more than 150 aid workers.

Meanwhile, India indirectly supported a call for humanitarian cease fire in Gaza in a joint statement with UAE on January 11, wherein both nations stressed the importance of multilateralism and “called for collective action to promote a just, rule-based global order.”

This statement followed the visit of UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Gujarat on January 9 and 10, as the chief guest of the Vibrant Gujarat summit.

(Kavya Dubey may be reached at [email protected])

–Ajit Weekly News


News Credits – I A N S

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