Truce was 'not enough to deliver aid children needed', charities warn

Aid workers are living in shelters as they desperately try to bring in supplies

Palestinian medics search for survivors in the rubble following Israeli bombardment of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip as fighting resumed on Friday. AFP
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A director of a children’s charity living with his team in overcrowded shelters in Gaza says the situation is “dire” as Israel resumed military operations on Friday.

Speaking from Gaza, Jason Lee, Save the Children’s Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory, said the aid group was working with other charities to bring supplies into Gaza but warned it is “not enough”.

It comes as Oxfam told The National only a third of aid was able to get through this week.

“The situation is dire and getting worse. We had high hopes that the pauses would be extended but unfortunately this morning the fighting has resumed. One child is being killed every 10 minutes and one child is being injured every five minutes. This conflict is disproportionately affecting children,” Mr Lee said.

Unicef described inaction on Gaza as “an approval of the killing of children”.

“It is reckless to think more attacks on the people of Gaza will lead to anything other than carnage,” spokesman James Elder said.

“The seven-day pause was a reprieve for families to get food and look for loved ones. It was not enough for us to get enough supplies to the north. In the last seven days we have done what we could but it was not enough," Mr Lee said.

“All of my team are living in shelters. They are coordinating bringing in trucks but it is an arduous and complicated process. The scale and scope of what is happening to Gaza is unprecedented for just one aid group to do alone.

“Unfortunately we anticipate continuation of the heavy bombardment and that it will intensify with more air strikes and a high probability of a ground incursion.”

Palestinian families flee north Gaza after fighting resumes

Palestinian families flee north Gaza after fighting resumes

He said there is a real risk of cholera spreading and warned that health services will buckle following the renewed attacks.

Oxfam told The National only a third of aid lorries have been able to access Gaza and is urging the international community to step in.

“Oxfam is funding partners organisations inside Gaza that are responding in their communities, including in northern Gaza, distributing vouchers and cash for food along with hygiene kits,” a spokeswoman said.

“The humanitarian pause brought a welcome respite from air strikes, bombs and terror and allowed some hostages and prisoners to be released but it was never going to be enough to give trapped Palestinians the food, water, basic services, safety and hope that they desperately need.

“Just over 1,000 aid trucks were reported to have entered Gaza during the pause – less than a third of normal weekly humanitarian and commercial trade into Gaza pre-siege.

“The international community must use all diplomatic efforts to press for a lasting a ceasefire, ensure access to humanitarian aid via Israel and Egypt to all those that need it and secure the release of remaining hostages.”

British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) told The National it is carrying out the biggest aid mission in its 40 year history.

Its first convoy of aid lorries arrived in Gaza on Wednesday, carrying medicines and supplies for operating theatres and the treatment of traumatic injuries.

It has been delivering the vital aid to four hospitals in southern Gaza: Nasser Hospital and European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis, Shuhada al Aqsa Hospital in the Middle Area, and Abu Yousef Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah.

Another four lorries have delivered food supplies.

“We are pleased that these crucial medical supplies have been able to enter Gaza,” Fikr Shalltoot, MAP’s Gaza Director who leading its operations in Egypt, said.

“More than two-thirds of hospitals are no longer functioning and healthcare workers are operating under unimaginable conditions, so this aid is vital for Gaza’s remaining hospitals to save lives.

“This convoy will be the first of many, as we mobilise the largest emergency relief effort in MAP’s 40-year history.

“With the health system almost completely collapsed, and 1.8 million people displaced from their homes, our team of humanitarian heroes in Gaza will continue to work tirelessly to support their communities and help save lives.”

In the brief cessation of hostilities, British charity ActionAid has been working with its local partner, Wefaq Society for Women and Childcare to provide hot meals for thousands of women.

It managed to send dozens of lorries of aid into Gaza.

It told The National the pause gave them “a tiny window” in which to deliver just “a fraction of the aid needed”.

“We are deeply concerned for the safety and well-being of women across Gaza who are uniquely affected by the crisis,” it said.

“Thousands of women have had male relatives killed since the start of the war, increasing the number of female-headed households and leaving women to bear the weight of their family’s survival in camps while facing immense trauma and starvation.”

It has provided hot meals to more than 5,600 displaced people in the Rafah area.

Updated: December 01, 2023, 5:36 PM