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Gaza aid operations at risk of imminent shutdown, UN agencies warn

Dwindling food and fuel stocks could force aid operations to grind to a halt within days in Gaza as vital crossings remain shut, forcing hospitals to close and leading to more children dying of hunger, United Nations aid agencies warned on Friday.

Humanitarian workers have sounded the alarm this week over the closure of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings for aid and people into Gaza as part of Israel's military invasion in Rafah, the enclave's southernmost city where around 1 million displaced people have been sheltering.

"For five days, no fuel and virtually no humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip, and we are scraping the bottom of the barrel," said the UNICEF Senior Emergency Coordinator in the Gaza Strip, Hamish Young.

"This is already a huge issue for the population and for all humanitarian actors but in a matter of days, if not corrected, the lack of fuel could grind humanitarian operations to a halt," he told a virtual briefing.

More than 100,000 people have fled Rafah in the last five days, he added.

The situation in Gaza has reached "even more unprecedented levels of emergency," Georgios Petropoulos, the head of the Gaza sub-office of UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, told reporters in the same briefing.

The closed crossings had prevented the movement of people including aid workers and medical evacuations, he said, while food shortages were pushing up prices and supplies had already been lost from the destruction of warehouses.

In the next day or so, five health ministry hospitals, five field hospitals and 30 ambulances would stop without more fuel, he said, adding that any kind of meaningful safe water production in Rafah has come to a halt.

Of the 12 aid-supported bakeries in southern Gaza, eight had ceased to operate and the rest would run out of stocks by Monday.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed nearly 35,000 Palestinians and wounded nearly 80,000, most of them women and children.

(Source: Reuters)

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