NEW YORK, Feb 22 (KUNA) -- Nineteen leaders of UN agencies called for the international community to "prevent an even worse catastrophe from happening" in Gaza, emphasising that Palestinian civilians are in grave danger as they have no safe space.
In a joint statement by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) on Wednesday it was mentioned that in less than five months since the attacks of October 7, tens of thousands of Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed and injured in the strip.
It added that almost three quarters of the civilians have been displaced from their homes and are suffering from the shortage of food, water, sanitation and health care.
The statement touched on the health system that continues to deteriorate systematically, having catastrophic consequences, adding that as of February 19th, only 12 out of 36 hospitals with inpatient capacity are functioning, partially, after almost 370 attacks targeted health care centres since October 7th.
"Diseases are rampant. Famine is looming. Water is at a trickle. Basic infrastructure has been decimated. Food production has come to a halt. Hospitals have turned into battlefields. One million children face daily traumas." the statement noted.
It added, "Rafah, the latest destination for well over 1 million displaced, hungry and traumatized people crammed into a small sliver of land, has become another battleground in this brutal conflict." The IASC, the highest humanitarian coordination committee in the UN, set ten requirements to avoid a worse catastrophe and facilitate aid operations to provide necessary basic needs to the strip.
The requirements included an immediate ceasefire, protection of civilians and infrastructure, immediate release of hostages, entry points to bring aid from all possible crossings, and unimpeded security assurances to distribute aid across Gaza.
It also provides a notification system that allows humanitarian staff to move and deliver aid safely throughout Gaza, clearing roads of explosive ordinances, a communication system that allows humanitarians to move safely, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to receive needed resources to provide life-saving assistance, and a halt to campaigns that discredit the UN and non-governmental organizations. (end)