UN Aid Warehouses Looted in Gaza as Death Toll Surpasses 8,000

by Ella

In the midst of a dire humanitarian crisis, thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, driven to desperation by three weeks of relentless siege and bombings, broke into several United Nations aid warehouses, seizing vital supplies including wheat, flour, and other essentials.

The situation is ringing alarm bells over the potential breakdown of civil order in the region after weeks of conflict and a crippling blockade. Thomas White, director of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, expressed his concern, saying, “This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege.”


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on Sunday, reiterated his calls to halt the violence and establish a ceasefire to end the ongoing crisis. He expressed deep distress over the escalating desperation in Gaza, as Israel intensified its military operations instead of implementing a much-needed humanitarian pause, as called for by the international community.


The current crisis began with an attack by Hamas in Israel, prompting Israel to impose a complete blockade, which meant no access to food, water, or electricity for the 2.3 million residents of Gaza. While Israel has allowed limited supplies of basic necessities and medicines, efforts are underway to secure more provisions of food, water, fuel, and medicine for the beleaguered enclave, which has endured relentless bombardment since October 7.


According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, the Palestinian death toll has now surpassed 8,000, with the majority being women and children. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a “second stage” in the war after deploying tanks and infantry into Gaza over the weekend.


The weekend’s intense bombing, described by Gaza residents as the most severe of the conflict, led to a communication blackout in the region, isolating Gaza’s population from the rest of the world. Fortunately, communication was partially restored to Gaza early on Sunday.

The Israeli military reported that it had targeted over 450 locations in the past 24 hours, including Hamas command centers, observation posts, and anti-tank missile launch positions. Additional ground forces were deployed into Gaza overnight.

UNRWA noted, “Supplies on the market are running out while the humanitarian aid coming into the Gaza Strip on trucks from Egypt is insufficient.” The agency expressed concerns about the immense needs of the local communities for basic survival while the aid they receive remains limited and inconsistent.

Juliette Touma, a UNRWA spokesperson, confirmed that the crowds had breached a total of four facilities on Saturday, although the warehouses did not contain fuel, a resource in critically short supply since the start of the conflict.

One of the looted warehouses is situated in Deir el-Balah, where UNRWA stores supplies from humanitarian convoys arriving in Gaza from Egypt.

Thomas White, the UNRWA chief, stressed that the significant displacement of people has placed overwhelming pressure on host communities. He explained, “Some families received up to 50 relatives taking shelter in one household.”

UNRWA has stated that its capacity to aid the people of Gaza has been stretched to its limits due to airstrikes that have claimed the lives of more than 50 of its staff members and hindered the movement of supplies.

With over 613,000 of the 1.4 million internally displaced people in Gaza taking refuge in 150 UNRWA facilities across the besieged territory, severe overcrowding, lack of privacy, and inadequate sanitation have put these shelters at risk of a prolonged and severe public health crisis, further straining the already overwhelmed healthcare system, which medical professionals and the Ministry of Health describe as being in a state of total collapse.



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