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UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini meets with displaced people in southern Gaza. (Photo: Mohamed Hinnawi, via UNRWA)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

UNRWA says February registered a 50 percent reduction of humanitarian aid entering the besieged Gaza Strip compared to January.

Humanitarian aid entering the Gaza Strip dropped by half this month, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has said.

“February registered a 50% reduction of humanitarian aid entering Gaza compared to January,” UNRWA’s Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said on X on Monday.

“Aid was supposed to increase not decrease to address the huge needs of 2 million Palestinians in desperate living conditions,” he added. 

Lazzarini blamed the lack of political will, regular closing of the crossing points, insecurity due to Israeli military operations and the collapse of civil order for the aid reduction.

He said a “cease fire + lifting the siege to allow meaningful lifesaving aid + commercial supplies are long overdue.”

On average, nearly 98 aid trucks entered Gaza this month, UNRWA said in its latest situation report, issued on Monday. 

The agency noted “significant difficulties” in bringing supplies through the Kerem Shalom and Rafah crossings due to security constraints and temporary closures. 

“UNRWA has at times had to temporarily stop discharging supplies due to security concerns. Security to manage the crossing has been severely impacted due to the killing of several Palestinian policemen in Israeli airstrikes near the crossings recently,” it said. 

Nail in Aid’s Coffin

Also on Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that an all-out Israeli offensive in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, “would not only be terrifying for more than a million Palestinian civilians sheltering there; it would put the final nail in the coffin of our aid programs.”

“Rafah is the core of the humanitarian aid operation, and UNRWA is the backbone of that effort,” Guterres told the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  

He said  “International Law remains under attack,” and repeated his call for a humanitarian ceasefire. 

“I invoked Article 99 for the first time in my mandate to put the greatest possible pressure on the Council to do everything in its power to end the bloodshed in Gaza and prevent escalation. But it was not enough,” the Secretary-General stressed.

Israel plans to carry out a ground invasion in Rafah, where 1.4 million people have taken refuge, despite international warnings and calls to avoid such an attack.

Close to 30,000 Killed

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 29,878 Palestinians have been killed, and 70,215 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 7,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip. 

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

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all over 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. 

Tel Aviv says that 1,200 soldiers and civilians were killed during the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation on October 7.

Israel is currently on trial before the International Court of Justice for genocide against Palestinians.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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