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UN aid chief warns of 'apocalyptic' consequences of shortages in Gaza

Martin Griffiths, the United Nations under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief

The UN humanitarian aid chief has warned that the continuation of famine and obstruction to the delivery of humanitarian aid by Israel in the besieged Gaza Strip could have an apocalyptic outcome.

Martin Griffiths, the UN's Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said on Sunday that Israel’s attacks on Rafah had blocked main aid crossings, leading to shortages of fuel, food, and medicine in the southern city of Gaza.

"If fuel runs out, aid doesn't get to the people where they need it, that famine, which we have talked about for so long, and which is looming, will not be looming anymore. It will be present," Griffiths said.

"And I think our worry, as citizens of the international community, is that the consequence is going to be really, really hard. Hard, difficult, and apocalyptic," he added.

 The Israeli incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, launched in the face of international outcry, has deepened an already perilous humanitarian crisis in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Griffith said some 50 trucks of aid per day could reach the hardest-hit north of Gaza through the reopened Erez crossing. But clashes near the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings in Gaza's south meant the vital routes were "effectively blocked".

"So aid getting in through land routes to the south and for Rafah, and the people dislodged by Rafah is almost nil," Griffiths noted.

With fuel, food and medicine running out, Griffiths said the military action in the southern Gazan city was "exactly what we feared it would be".

"And we all said that very clearly, that a Rafah operation is a disaster in humanitarian terms, a disaster for the people already displaced to Rafah. This is now their fourth or fifth displacement," he said.

The UN said on Saturday that 800,000 people had been "forced to flee" Israel's assault in Rafah.

In a statement released on Sunday, the government media office in Gaza said on Sunday that Israel’s closure of the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings for the 13th consecutive day is preventing 3,000 aid trucks from entering the strip and 690 patients from seeking treatment abroad.

“Throughout the closure of the two crossings, the occupation prevented approximately 3,000 aid trucks from entering, and hindered 690 patients from traveling to receive medical treatment outside the Gaza Strip,” the office said.

 “The Israeli occupation prevents the entry of food and supply aid and medical supplies into the Gaza Strip.”

“Israel also prevents the entry of fuel into hospitals and agencies that provide humanitarian services which doubles the deep humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip,” it added.

Israel prevents 690 patients from traveling abroad for treatment

Separately, the office regarded this as a significant threat, particularly given “the collapse of the healthcare system and the targeting, destruction, burning, and complete incapacitation of hospitals.”

“This underscores the occupation’s perpetration of the crime of genocide against civilians, including children and women,” it said.

Elsewhere in the statement, the media office held “the Israeli occupation, the American administration, the European Union, and the international community accountable for the ongoing genocidal war.”

Israel has killed dozens more Palestinian civilians in Gaza amid heavy fighting between regime forces and resistance fighters in northern and southern parts of the territory.

At least 70 people were killed in the past 24 hours.

The latest Israeli strikes targeted residential areas in Jabalia and Khan Yunis. Many of the people killed were again children. The Israeli military says it struck over 70 targets across Gaza since Friday.

The death toll from over seven months of the genocidal war on Gaza is now nearly 35,500.

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