Wednesday, 15 November 2023 15:13

Israel-Palestine crisis: UN emergency relief chief unveils 10-point plan ‘to rein in the carnage’

The UN’s top emergency relief official unveiled a 10-point plan “to rein in the carnage” in Gaza on Wednesday which focuses on a major expansion of aid into into the wartorn enclave, along with a new call for humanitarian ceasefires and the release of hostages taken during Hamas’s 7 October terror attacks on Israel.

The initiative from veteran aid chief Martin Griffiths, head of the UN aid coordination office OCHA, comes more than five weeks since Hamas militants killed 1,200 people in Israel and took around 240 hostages.

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The full-scale Israeli siege and assault that followed has levelled thousands of buildings in Gaza and reportedly claimed more than 11,000 civilian lives, according the Ministry of Health there.

Halt the killing

“As the carnage in Gaza reaches new levels of horror every day, the world continues to watch in shock as hospitals come under fire, premature babies die, and an entire population is deprived of the basic means of survival,” Mr. Griffiths said. “This cannot be allowed to continue.”

In a call to the warring parties and all those able to exert influence on them to heed the initiative, Mr. Griffiths underscored the need to ensure a safe and “continuous flow of aid convoys” into Gaza.

Additional crossing points should be opened into the enclave, over and above Rafah from Egypt, according to the 10-point plan, including Kerem Shalom, and private sector suppliers should be included in this plan too.

Fuel access is key

Access to fuel, a key requirement for all aid to flow, should also be made possible “in sufficient quantities” to deliver basic services, and the UN and partners should be allowed to expand the number of shelters available to all those forced from their homes in northern Gaza by the Israeli military’s evacuation order.

Additional funding for the humanitarian response is also required, Mr. Griffiths pointed out, noting that it now amounts to $1.2 billion. UN and partner aid distribution hubs should also be permitted and civilians should be allowed “to move to safer areas and to voluntarily return to their residences”, the UN official said.

© UNRWA/Ashraf Amra
A man and a boy share drinking water in the Gaza Strip.

Earlier on Wednesday a truck with 23,000 litres of fuel entered Gaza but Israeli authorities have restricted its use to only transporting aid from Rafah. At least 120,000 litres a day are needed to operate hospital generators, ambulances, desalination plants, sewage treatment plants and telecommunications.

This problem can be easily rectified the UN said: the supply of electricity must be restored, and sufficient fuel must be allowed to enter to run vital infrastructure and distribute life-saving aid.

More to come on this developing story...