Amidst the ongoing bombardment on Gaza by Israel killing over 11,000 since October 7, Tamara Alrifai, the Director of External Relations and Communications at The United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA), spoke with IANS on Sunday and expressed deep concern over the large-scale displacement of people and the dire condition of hospitals, emphasising the catastrophic impact on the local population.
In the interview with the news agency, Alrifai revealed that hospitals in Gaza are grappling with a critical fuel shortage, causing essential medical equipment such as incubators to cease functioning. The lack of fuel is hindering the overall functionality of healthcare facilities, aggravating an already precarious situation.
Alrifai outlined the challenges faced by UNRWA in delivering aid in Gaza, stating that out of their 13,000 staff members in the region, only around 5,000 are currently able to work in the field. Despite these difficulties, UNRWA is actively providing assistance, including food distribution and medical aid through mobile clinics.
UNRWA has lost 101 members due to the ongoing conflict. Alrifai expressed condolences and concern for the families and friends of the colleagues who lost their lives, highlighting the urgency of ensuring the safety and security of UNRWA staff.
She criticized the inadequacy of the aid received so far, urging international agencies and governments to increase the supply of essential materials. The closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing has exacerbated the situation, limiting the inflow of aid. Additionally, a severe fuel shortage is impacting not only healthcare but also water treatment facilities, leading to the use of contaminated water.
Alrifai confirmed reports of a massive displacement crisis in Gaza, with over 700,000 displaced individuals seeking refuge in UNRWA schools and shelters.
The limited space available adds to the urgency of addressing the forced displacements occurring in the region.
As the genocide in Gaza intensifies, the plea for increased humanitarian assistance and intervention grows louder, emphasising the need for swift and effective measures to alleviate the suffering of the affected population.