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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres demanded a humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza war on Monday, warning that the besieged enclave was becoming a “graveyard for children”.
“The unfolding catastrophe makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour,” he told reporters at the UN headquarters.
At least 10,022 Palestinians have been killed, including 4,104 children, in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7, according to Gaza Health Ministry tallies.
“The parties to the conflict – and, indeed, the international community – face an immediate and fundamental responsibility: to stop this inhuman collective suffering and dramatically expand humanitarian aid to Gaza,” stressed Mr Guterres.
He voiced concern over the “clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing”.
“The nightmare in Gaza is more than a humanitarian crisis. It is a crisis of humanity,” Mr Guterres said.
The UN chief warned that only a “trickle of assistance” is getting into Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah crossing”, which “does not meet the ocean of need”.
More than 400 aid lorries have crossed into Gaza over the past two weeks – compared with 500 a day before the conflict. The aid has not included fuel.
“Without fuel, newborn babies in incubators and patients on life support will die,” Mr Guterres warned.
He announced the world body was launching a flash $1.2 billion UN humanitarian appeal to help 2.7 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as well as parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Mr Guterres also expressed grave concern about rising violence and an expansion of the conflict, warning the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is at a “boiling point.”
“We are already witnessing a spiral of escalation from Lebanon and Syria to Iraq and Yemen,” he said.