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Displaced Palestinian children fetching water in Rafah. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

UNRWA has warned that the humanitarian crisis in Gaza puts thousands of vulnerable people at risk of disease. 

The UN Agency for Palestine Refugees has warned that the Gaza Strip is out of water, as the population struggles to survive amid Israel’s relentless assault on the enclave. 

“Water is life & Gaza is out of water,” the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (URWA) said in a statement on X on Sunday.

 “There is very limited access to clean water & sanitation amid relentless bombardment”, the relief agency stressed. 

It further warned that “the humanitarian crisis, antagonized by limited aid deliveries & destruction of infrastructure, puts thousands of vulnerable people at risk of disease. 

Also on Sunday, UNRWA and its partners said that despite having delivered “nearly 20,000,000 liters” of water to people in Gaza, “it’s not enough to meet the needs.” 

“Without safe water, many more people will die of deprivation and disease,” the team said on X.  

It added, “Conditions are inhumane. People struggle to survive without any of the basics.”

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has also warned that “Everyday, children in Gaza face increased risk of death from the sky, disease from lack of safe water & deprivation from lack of food.”

On X it said: “An immediate & long-lasting ceasefire is the only way to end the suffering of #children & enable the urgent delivery of desperately needed aid.”

‘Funding is Critical’

Meanwhile, on Friday, Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, expressed thanks for the “overwhelming support” from people, countries and organizations around the world, “so critical at a time when our teams in Gaza continue to be the frontline humanitarian responders.”

“Resumption of funding is key to keep the largest humanitarian in Gaza uninterrupted,” Lazzarini stressed in a statement on X.

He added that “A predictable & sustained funding can still reverse the current catastrophe in Gaza & contribute to stability in a region that’s already in turmoil.”

Several Western countries, including the US, Canada, and France have suspended funding worth $440 million to the UN relief agency after Israel alleged some of its employees were involved in the October 7 operation carried out by the Palestinian Resistance. 

UNRWA terminated the contracts of the staff members concerned, asking for an independent investigation.

The relief agency warned last week that it would “most likely” be forced to shut down its operations in the besieged Gaza Strip as well as across the region by the end of February if funding remains suspended. 

Death Toll Rises

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 27,365 Palestinians have been killed, and 66,663 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. 

Moreover, at least 8,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

Worse still, the aggression has resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly 2 million people from all of the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt—in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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