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Situation in Gaza rapidly approaching 'humanitarian disaster': ICRC

A Palestinian woman waits to be treated for injuries from Israeli strikes at Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza Strip, on November 12, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has sounded a stern alarm about the humanitarian situation in the besieged Gaza Strip, which has been under Israel's genocidal war for the past 38 days, describing it as disastrous.

"The situation [in Gaza] is rapidly approaching a humanitarian disaster," the world body warned on Sunday.

"An unbearable human tragedy is unfolding in front of our eyes. People call us day and night saying they are afraid to open their door for fear of getting killed and pleading to help them reach safety," said William Schomburg, head of the ICRC's sub-delegation in Gaza.

"As a humanitarian worker, I feel frustrated not to be able to respond to these calls, as our teams lack basic security conditions to move in North Gaza," he added.

Israel started its war on Gaza on October 7 following an operation by the territory's resistance groups. More than 11,000 Palestinians, including 4,506 children, have been killed and 27,490 others injured in the regime's military onslaught so far.

The ICRC also expressed alarm at the regime's targeting of heavily populated urban areas, saying, "Israeli attacks taking place in heavily populated urban areas in the [Gaza] Strip, including around hospitals, endanger the lives of the most vulnerable people like medical staff, patients, the wounded, premature babies, people with disabilities, and the elderly."

The ICRC's warning came as thousands of Gazans have embarked on a perilous journey from the northern part of the coastal territory toward its south amid a short-notice evacuation order by the Israeli regime.

The ICRC said it is gravely concerned by the precarious and unsafe conditions under which civilians are evacuating as a result of the ongoing Israeli aggression.

"Men, women, and children, waving white flags, walk for dozens of kilometers past dead bodies lying on the streets and without necessities like food and water. At the same time, the ICRC teams in Gaza and hotline operators receive numerous calls from displaced people searching for their family members. It is paramount that members of the same family are not separated during evacuations," it said.

The ICRC also warned that the southern areas of Gaza are not well-equipped to cater to the massive number of people arriving with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, and the quantity of humanitarian aid coming in is largely insufficient.

The world body also reiterated its call for unimpeded and regular flow of humanitarian assistance into the Gaza Strip.

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