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UN Security Council says concerned about ‘rapidly deteriorating’ Gaza conditions

Injured Palestinian people receive treatment in Gaza City's Al-Shifa hospital, following a deadly Israeli strike on January 25, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

The United Nations Security Council has raised the alarm at the “dire and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation” in the Gaza Strip as Israel continues its genocidal war on the besieged territory.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the 15-member council urged all parties to work with UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, Sigrid Kaag.

Earlier in the day, Kaag highlighted the irreplaceable role played by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in offering critical assistance to besieged Gaza.

“There is no way any organization can replace or substitute the tremendous capacity and the fabric of UNRWA and its ability and knowledge,” she told reporters.

The remarks came after several countries, including the US, suspended funding for UNRWA following Israeli accusations about the involvement of 12 of the agency’s staff members in the October 7 operation by the Palestinian Hamas resistance group.

Kaag warned that the absence of a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza is hindering aid efforts.

She also emphasized the importance of increasing the flow of commercial goods into the blockaded Palestinian territory in addition to humanitarian assistance.

“There will be no recovery, let alone reconstruction in the future, without that broad bandwidth,” she added.

Defunding UNRWA ‘distraction' from Gaza’s dire situation

The World Health Organization (WHO) also warned that defunding UNRWA threatens to worsen the already dire situation of over 2 million people in the Gaza Strip.

WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said the funding row is “a distraction from what’s really going on every day, every hour, every minute in Gaza.”

“It is a distraction from the more than 27,000 deaths right now, of which 70% are women and children,” he noted. “It is a distraction from preventing an entire population from access to clean water, food, shelter. It is a distraction from preventing electricity from coming into Gaza for more than 100 days.”

Gaza needs ‘continued support’

Meanwhile, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that aid cuts to UNRWA will be felt within weeks in Gaza.

“Civilians in Gaza who are suffering, need the continued support of everyone,” he added. “The critical humanitarian work the UN does not only in Gaza, in the region, needs to be supported. People’s lives depend on it.”

Israel waged its genocidal war on besieged Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the occupying entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

So far, the Tel Aviv regime has killed at least 26,751 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injured 65,636 others.

In an emergency interim ruling on Friday, the UN’s top court ordered Israel to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) said Israel must “take all measures in its power” to limit the death and destruction caused by its offensive, prevent and punish incitement to genocide, and ensure access to humanitarian aid.

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