Gaza: new evacuation orders - UNRWA, WHO
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Gaza: new evacuation orders - UNRWA, WHO

Gaza: 250,000 set to be impacted by Israel’s new evacuation order, says UNRWA 

New evacuation orders issued by the Israeli army for areas in southern Gaza are expected to impact 250,000 people, including eastern Khan Younis and Rafah, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.

The development comes just weeks after Gazans had returned to a devastated Khan Younis seeking shelter, following the Israeli military’s operation in nearby Rafah, which sparked mass displacement.

According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the number of displaced people is likely to grow. “Already on the ground, we are seeing families moving, people starting to pack up their belongings and trying to leave this area,” said Louise Wateridge, UNRWA Senior Communications Officer. 

The Israeli Defense Forces withdrew ground forces from Khan Younis in April, after months of intense fighting that left much of the city in ruins. 

Ms. Wateridge described the latest upheaval as another devastating blow to the families in the Strip, many already displaced and now forced to move to the overcrowded area of al-Mawasi and camp at water’s edge. 

Meanwhile, Khan Younis remains “a very highly active military zone. There is no safety to leave,” emphasized Ms. Wateridge, speaking from Gaza to journalists in Geneva. She recalled that UNICEF had reported earlier in the year that Gaza now has around 17,000 unaccompanied or separated children. “What about these children? What decisions are these children making? What about the elderly? What about the sick?” she insisted. 

Although the Israeli military has reportedly said that patients and medical staff at Khan Younis’ European Hospital are not subject to an evacuation order, they have self-evacuated to avoid bloodshed and being completely cut-off from ambulance support and supplies, according to the UN World Health Organization (WHO). 

The UN health agency also expressed deep concern about the lack of fuel needed to keep all humanitarian operations – including health – running. Since the closure of the Rafah border, which was the main entry point for fuel into Gaza, the health response operations have been significantly compromised, it noted, with no fuel entering the enclave since 27 June.

“To maintain full operations, health alone needs 80,000 litres of fuel a day. The water and sanitation sector alone needs 70,000 litres of fuel a day to operate critical services that remain accessible,” explained Dr Hanan Balkhy, the UN health agency’s regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean. “From 15 to 23 June, the water and sanitation cluster received less than five per cent of the fuel needed each day to keep these services running,” she insisted. 

More fighting in the Khan Younis area could further hamper Palestinians’ access to safe water at a time when the lack of sanitation is significantly contributing to the spread of diseases. WHO has registered a “growing number of adults and children suffering from waterborne diseases, such as hepatitis A, diarrheal illnesses, skin conditions, and others”. 

Most of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have fled their homes, with many displaced several times, UN humanitarians report. Israeli restrictions and fighting have hindered the delivery of humanitarian aid, fueling widespread hunger and sparking fears of famine, according to the UN aid coordination office, OCHA.

Israel and Hamas have been at war since Hamas-led terror attacks in multiple locations in southern Israel on 7 October last year, killing some 1,200 people and capturing 253 hostages.

ends

Story: “Gaza: new evacuation orders – UNRWA, WHO” – 02 July 2024 

Speakers:

·        Louise Wateridge, Senior Communications Officer, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) - speaking from Gaza

·        Dr Hanan Balkhy, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean - speaking from Jerusalem

 

TRT: 02’07”
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 02 July 2024 - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Geneva Press briefing


SHOTLIST

 

  1. Exterior medium shot: UN flag alley  
  2. Wide shot of the podium at the press conference room.
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) Louise Wateridge, UNRWA Senior Communications Officer: “In eastern Khan Younis, there were new evacuation orders, displacement orders issued last night. Already on the ground, we are seeing people moving, families moving, people starting to pack up their belongings and trying to leave this area. UNRWA estimates that around 250,000 people have been impacted by these orders. Of course, as usual, we expect these numbers to grow.”
  4. Wide shot of press room.

5. SOUNDBITE (English) Louise Wateridge, UNRWA Senior Communications Officer: “It's a very highly active military zone. There is no safety to leave. And as UNICEF reported earlier in the year, 17,000 children are unaccompanied or separated. What about these children ? What decisions are these children making? What about the elderly? What about the sick ? »

  1. Wide shot of press room.
  2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Hanan Balkhy, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean: To maintain full operations, health alone needs 80,000 liters of fuel a day. The water and sanitation sector alone needs another 70,000 liters of fuel a day to operate critical services.”
  3. Wide shot of press room.
  4. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Hanan Balkhy, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean: From June 15 to 23rd, the water and sanitation cluster received less than five per cent of the fuel needed each day to keep these services running.”
  1. Medium shot of press room with journalists taking notes.
  2. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Hanan Balkhy, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean: “(The) lack of safe water and sanitation is significantly contributing to the spread of diseases. There are concerning increases in the number of adults and children suffering from waterborne diseases, such as hepatitis A, diarrheal illnesses, skin conditions, and others.”
  3. Various close shots of journalists attending the briefing in the press room.


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