UN official says ‘every day counts’ in Gaza relief efforts

The UN’s top humanitarian coordinator in Gaza says Israel has taken steps to improve the delivery of relief supplies to the enclave, but more needs to be done to meet the vast needs on the ground. he warned.

Israel has announced efforts to increase the flow of aid to Gaza, including opening additional border crossings and accepting cargo at nearby ports. But the United Nations is issuing increasingly dire warnings that famine is imminent and that supplies remain below the levels needed to stop hunger from spreading.

Aid Coordinator Sigrid Kaag said at a Security Council briefing on Wednesday that Israel had made efforts to increase aid access and distribution, but that “further decisive steps are needed to ensure sustained aid flows.” And urgent action is needed.” Humanitarian and commercial supplies flow into Gaza in terms of volume, need and reach. ”

“Every day is precious given the scale and extent of the destruction and the extent of the human suffering,” she added.

according to united nations data, the number of aid trucks entering Gaza has increased, but only by a small amount. In his two weeks to Monday, the latest day for which statistics are available, an average of 195 trucks entered Gaza each day through his two main crossings in the southern part of the territory.

This is slightly above the average of 185 trucks per day for the previous two weeks, but less than the 300 food trucks the World Food Program needs per day to meet people’s basic needs. It’s still not far off.

Kaag, a former finance minister and deputy prime minister of the Netherlands, was appointed by the United Nations in December to step up efforts to obtain aid for Gaza. The role was established in a Security Council resolution aimed at addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which has been under heavy shelling by Israel since the Hamas-led offensive on October 7.

Countries including the United States are exploring air and sea routes to Gaza, but aid groups say delivery by truck is far more efficient. They detailed the challenges of passing through Israeli security checkpoints and navigating through combat zones, including impassable roads, unexploded ordnance and fuel shortages. Israel denies aid restrictions and blames bureaucratic delays at the U.N. agency.

Mr. Kaag said the United Nations was in communication with the Israeli government about urgent measures needed to improve aid flows, including easing procedures at Israeli checkpoints, repairing roads and allowing humanitarian convoys to move on schedule. He said he was taking it.

Kaag’s comments echo those of David Satterfield, President Biden’s special envoy for humanitarian affairs in the Gaza Strip, who said Tuesday that aid to Gaza is increasing but that “more We need help.”

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