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Only effective way to ramp up Gaza aid is by land, UN chief Guterres says

During a visit to Egypt, Antonio Guterres warns of the impact Israel’s months-long war on Gaza is having around the globe.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
Guterres attends a news conference in Egypt [Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters]

The only effective and efficient way to deliver heavy goods to meet Gaza’s humanitarian needs is by road and includes an exponential increase in commercial deliveries, says the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Speaking during a visit to Egypt on Sunday, Guterres also warned of the impact Israel’s months-long war on Gaza was having around the globe.

“The daily assault on the human dignity of Palestinians is creating a crisis of credibility for the international community,” he said in remarks following a visit to the gates of the besieged Palestinian territory at the Rafah border crossing on Saturday.

Guterres repeated his call for an immediate ceasefire to alleviate “the plight of Palestinian children, women and men struggling to survive the nightmare” in famine-threatened Gaza.

“Looking at Gaza, it almost appears that the four horsemen of war, famine, conquest and death are galloping across it,” he said. “The whole world recognises that it’s past time to silence the guns and ensure an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”

The UN has repeatedly warned of famine in the Palestinian territory, particularly in the north, which has been largely cut off from aid deliveries.

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Guterres said Palestinians in Gaza “desperately need what has been promised – a flood of aid”. “Not trickles. Not drops,” he added.

The Israeli government is under growing international pressure to ease its bombardment and ground offensive in Gaza, which the territory’s Ministry of Health says has killed at least 32,226 people in less than six months, most of them women and children.

The bombings began on October 7 after the Palestinian armed group, Hamas, led an unprecedented attack on Israel, killing about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.

Israel has pledged to pursue its military campaign all the way to Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians have sought shelter, penned in by the Egyptian border.

Guterres, who also met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, called the Rafah border crossing and Egypt’s El Arish airport where assistance is sent “essential arteries for life-saving aid into Gaza”.

“But those arteries are clogged,” he said, with massive lines of trucks piled up on the Egyptian side, only trickling in as the humanitarian situation worsens.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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