Aid organisations stopped cross-border humanitarian supply deliveries into the Gaza Strip on Friday, citing concerns that people may soon face starvation, as communication systems in the region went down for a second day on Friday due to a lack of fuel to power phone networks and the internet.
Israel has been advancing further into Gaza City and its forces have been searching Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza, for signs of a command centre that the military claims were hidden beneath the structure. Though they haven’t yet provided any proof of the existence of the command centre, which is denied by Shifa and Hamas personnel, they have shown pictures of what they claimed to be a tunnel entrance and weapons discovered in a truck inside the compound.
The October 7 attack in Southern Israel by Hamas, in which the militants killed over 1200 people, mostly civilians, and captured about 240 men, women, and children, started the conflict, which is currently in its sixth week.
According to Abeer Etefa, a Mideast regional spokeswoman for the United Nations’ World Food Programme, Gaza is currently only receiving 10% of its needed food supplies every day, and dehydration and malnutrition are increasing with nearly all of the 2.3 million people in the territory needing food. In Cairo, she declared, “People are facing the immediate possibility of starvation.”
As of Thursday, “there is no way to meet the current hunger needs,” she said, citing a lack of fuel and a limited number of trucks capable of entering Gaza. “The existing food systems in Gaza are basically collapsing.”
The situation got worse when the communications network, which is essential for organising aid deliveries, went down. On Friday, the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA, announced that no humanitarian supplies would be allowed to cross into southern Gaza from Egypt. “Humanitarian aid, food, fuel, and water have all been used as weapons of war,” agency representative Juliette Touma stated.