Gaza humanitarian update: UNRWA - WHO
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Gaza humanitarian update: UNRWA - WHO

Gaza: People are desperate, they need everything, says UN aid agency

Panic and desperation now grip ordinary Gazans struggling to survive, UN humanitarians said on Friday, amid fuel shortages and dwindling supplies that have prevented aid teams from doing their job.

Speaking from central Gaza where bombing can be heard “from the north, the middle and the south”, Senior Communications Officer Louise Wateridge from the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, described the scene as she entered Gaza from Kerem Shalom in Israel on Thursday.

“There are hundreds of people waiting for the trucks to enter. They’re desperate, people are desperate. These are very desperate times; people need everything. And when very little trucks and very little amount of aid comes through, of course there's going to be a huge rush from the population to go and get it. So that is the situation that we're facing now and the only answer to that is to provide more aid, to provide more food, to provide more medicine.”

Ms. Wateridge said that what she saw of nearby Rafah was “destroyed”. The city had been her base during her first tour in May, when Israeli forces seized the key border crossing, further hampering aid deliveries into Gaza.

The scene is no different across the shattered enclave but needs have deteriorated sharply since she was last in Rafah before the Israeli military operation there in early May. “I’ve seen nothing like it,” she told journalists via video link.

“The Gaza Strip is destroyed. You go back to Khan Younis, I was shocked going through Khan Younis yesterday because the last time I was in Khan Younis, the buildings are skeletons, if at all; everything is rubble and yet people are living there again.”

She added: “When the last I was there, it was a ghost town because people had fled for their lives from to Khan Younis, there is nothing there, there's no water there, there's no sanitation, there's no food. And now people are living back in these buildings that are empty shells of themselves. You can see where the walls have been blown out and blasted out there; there are you know, sheets in place, blankets in place, people trying to protect themselves from the sun.”

In a rare piece of good news, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) welcomed Thursday’s evacuation of 21 young patients from Gaza – the first since the key border crossing at Rafah closed on 7 May. But more than 10,000 patients still need medical evacuations.

“Since the closure of Rafah, we did not have any medical evacuation until yesterday and these 21 children with cancer,” said WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic. “We need to reopen Rafah and any other border crossing to get these people out. So, their lives, can be saved.”

Specialised, lifesaving care is no longer available in Gaza, Mr. Jasarevic continued, in an appeal to evacuate the “more than 10,000 people” – including thousands of amputees - waiting to receive the medical care they need.

“We don't have estimates of amputees (or) amputations that are performed in Gaza. But what we know that we need an entire system be in place for health workers to save a limb from a child or from an adult,” the WHO officer said. “That includes expertise, staff, supplies, trauma care, a referral system…none of this is available in Gaza.”

Highlighting the dire shortages of aid relief that humanitarians are also encountering, UNRWA’s Ms. Wateridge noted that water is also very limited. “Even just the case of a few weeks, it is significantly deteriorated,” she said. “And with the ongoing siege and with the lack of access restrictions there seems to be no solution that we need and we are desperate for any kind of support and any kind of ability to do our work, because that's why we're here.”

The lack of fuel which reportedly forced the Kuwaiti field hospital in Al Mawasi to shut down its generator earlier this week has also grounded humanitarians and efforts to clear ever-increasing piles of waste.

“There is no fuel on the ground, today we are in the guest house as well because we don't have fuel to be able to go out and do these missions,” Ms. Wateridge said. “I think one of the most shocking things I'm seeing is just about 150 metres away from where we're staying, there's around 100,000 tonnes of waste piling up. And this is really the case now across the Gaza Strip.”

She added: “People really don't have anything; not only do they not have anything, they don't have any money. There is no money here because it's not being printed, it's not being distributed. We go to a health clinic here and the colleagues tell us they haven't received a salary for the entire duration of the war because there's no way to physically get the money. This is causing desperation. It's causing panic.”

ends

STORY: Gaza humanitarian update

SOURCE: UNTV CH

LENGTH: 3’10”

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9

RESTRICTIONS: NONE

DATELINE: 28 JUNE 2024 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST

1.       Exterior wide, UN Geneva flag alley.

2.       Wide, UN Geneva Press room.

3.       SOUNDBITE (English) – Louise Wateridge, Senior Communications Officer, UNRWA: “There are hundreds of people waiting for the trucks to enter. They’re desperate, people are desperate. These are very desperate times; people need everything. And when very little trucks and very little amount of aid comes through, of course there's going to be a huge rush from the population to go and get it. So that is the situation that we're facing now and the only answer to that is to provide more aid, to provide more food, to provide more medicine.”

4.       Medium, TV journalist walks with camera in Press room.

5.       SOUNDBITE (English) – Louise Wateridge, Senior Communications Officer, UNRWA: “The Gaza Strip is destroyed. You go back to Khan Younis, I was shocked going through Khan Younis yesterday because the last time I was in Khan Younis, the buildings are skeletons, if at all; everything is rubble and yet people are living there again.”

6.       Medium-wide, UN Press room.

7.       SOUNDBITE (English) – Louise Wateridge, Senior Communications Officer, UNRWA: “I've seen nothing like it. When the last I was there, it was a ghost town because people had fled for their lives from to Khan Younis, there is nothing there, there's no water there, there's no sanitation, there's no food. And now people are living back in these buildings that are empty shells of themselves. You can see where the walls have been blown out and blasted out there; there are you know, sheets in place, blankets in place, people trying to protect themselves from the sun.”

8.       Medium-wide, UN Press room from podium, TV screens, journalists.

9.       SOUNDBITE (English) – Tarik Jasarevic, spokesperson, WHO: “Since the closure of Rafah, we did not have any medical evacuation until yesterday and these 21 children with cancer. We need to reopen Rafah and any other border crossing to get these people out. So, their lives, can be saved.”

10.   Medium-wide, TV journalist filming, UN Geneva Press room..

11.   SOUNDBITE (English) – Louise Wateridge, Senior Communications Officer, UNRWA: “There's very few resources, There's very limited water. So, even just the case of a few weeks, it is significantly deteriorated. And with the ongoing siege and with the lack of access restrictions there seems to be no solution that we need and we are desperate for any kind of support and any kind of ability to do our work, because that's why we're here.”

12.   Medium-wide, UN Geneva Press room, journalists, interpretation booths to rear.

13.   SOUNDBITE (English) – Louise Wateridge, Senior Communications Officer, UNRWA: “There is no fuel on the ground, today we are in the guest house as well because we don't have fuel to be able to go out and do these missions. I think one of the most shocking things I'm seeing is just about 150 metres away from where we're staying, there's around 100,000 tonnes of waste piling up. And this is really the case now across the Gaza Strip.”

14.   Medium-wide, UN Geneva Press room shot from podium.

15.   SOUNDBITE (English) – Louise Wateridge, Senior Communications Officer, UNRWA: “People really don't have anything; not only do they not have anything, they don't have any money. There is no money here because it's not being printed, it's not being distributed. We go to a health clinic here and the colleagues tell us they haven't received a salary for the entire duration of the war because there's no way to physically get the money. This is causing desperation. It's causing panic.”

16.   Medium, podium shot, TV screen showing external speaker, journalists.

17.   Medium, journalist, participants.

18.   Medium, TV journalist, control room booths to rear.

19.   Medium-close, journalist.


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