UN aid chief warns of ‘apocalyptic’ consequences amid Gaza aid restrictions News
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UN aid chief warns of ‘apocalyptic’ consequences amid Gaza aid restrictions

The chief of the UN’s Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Martin Griffiths warned on Sunday of “apocalyptic” consequences in Gaza if humanitarian aid is not increased, referring to fuel shortages and the threat of famine due to the blockage of humanitarian aid to the strip.

In a statement to AFP news, Griffiths stated, “If fuel runs out and aid doesn’t reach those in need, the famine we’ve warned about will no longer be looming — it will be present.” A few weeks earlier, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme said there was already a “full-blown famine” in the northern region of the Gaza Strip.

Earlier this month, the UN reported that Israel’s military offensive in Rafah “crippled” humanitarian operations across the enclave. Additional maritime routes have since been opened, including a maritime humanitarian corridor from Cyprus and an aid pier constructed by the US military. Griffiths said that while these operations do bring in humanitarian aid, “it’s not replacement for land routes.”  According to another statement by an OCHA representative, “Land routes are the most viable, effective and efficient aid delivery method, which is why we need all crossing points to be opened.”

Since Israel’s military operation in Rafah on May 6, 640,000 people nearly half the people in the southern Gazan city, have been forced to flee the area to designated safe zones, according to the UN. Rafah had previously been designated as a safe zone. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, stressed that some of the towns to which civilians are supposed to flee have been destroyed, and many are still under attack.

The offensive in Rafah is opposed by most of the international community. South Africa has lodged an application to the International Court of Jusitce (ICJ) requesting additional binding provisional measures for Israel’s immediate withdrawal from Rafah, following proceedings that South Africa initiated in January accusing Israel of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.