Gaza ‘divided in two’ as civilians, humanitarians rebuild lives, provide aid — Global Issues

“We are very grateful for the support of the UN,” Andrea De Domenico, director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said via video link from Jerusalem.United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian AffairsThe secretary-general of the Palestinian Arab Republic Human Rights Commission, which is the secretary-general for the Palestinian territories in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), said people are being “forced to completely reset their lives many times.”

“For the past nine months, people have been moved from place to place like ‘board game pieces’ – forced from one place to the next, and then the next. [and] “Whether or not we can assist them and whether or not services are available wherever they land, they will move on to the next phase,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the focus of military operations shifts, humanitarian workers are also having to relocate their bases and evacuate from one location to another.

“Military operations [us] “I’m going to flip the table again,” he said.

He added that discussions had been held with all parties involved, including Israeli authorities, about the delivery and distribution of aid to the Gaza Strip, but the recent evacuation order in Khan Yunis had rendered all previous efforts “in vain.”

A life beyond imagination

An estimated 1.9 million people are internally displaced in the war-torn exclave, including some who have been displaced nine or ten times.

“They were forced to move because of the pattern of war, the intense fighting that affected them every time they risked staying put. [they had] Home or place [they had] Tents, huts, makeshift shelters,” he added.

De Domenico said humanitarian workers had to restart their work “again and again”, while displaced people had to figure out where to find food, water and medical aid, and reunite with neighbours if they could not find their families.

“And then it gets stripped away again and again and people have to create new capacities to deal with unimaginable living conditions,” he said.

He also stressed that as the war continues, it continues to cause more pain, suffering and humanitarian needs, but humanitarian workers are “striving to provide assistance.”

“We’re there to stay, to serve, to help people, but serving is a daily struggle for us… We have to work so hard, literally, to maintain the lifeblood of our service.”

© UNOCHA/Temba Linden

A UN team inspects unexploded ordnance on a main road in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip.

“Enough with the war”

An OCHA official explained that before the war, humanitarian aid was based in Gaza City in the north, and outlined the challenges facing aid workers.

“Then, in the middle of the night on 11-12 October, the Israeli authorities ordered us to abandon those facilities and move south… We had no choice but to comply… to protect the lives of our personnel,” he said.

“We left with a sense of guilt, knowing that we were leaving civilians behind, and since then we have been very determined not to let circumstances force us to move every time, unless our safety is truly threatened. [question].”

“We really need to draw a line…enough is enough of this war that continues to tear people’s lives apart.”

“No one is safe anywhere”

De Domenico reiterated that “nowhere is safe for anyone” in Gaza, neither civilians nor humanitarian workers.

At least 274 aid workers and volunteers have been killed so far, many in the line of duty but some in their homes with their families.

“[Humanitarians] Risking your life every day [few, if any] “Humanitarian sites that have escaped attack as the front lines have shifted… despite efforts to publicize their locations, the reality is… such sites are frequently attacked,” he added.

Andrea De Domenico, head of OCHA OPT, explains to reporters.

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