Humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate: UN

United Nations, Oct 13 (IANS) The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate as a result of Israeli airstrikes, UN humanitarians have said.

More than 338,000 people are now displaced, an increase of 30 per cent since Wednesday. More than 218,000 displaced people are sheltering in schools run by the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

More than 2,500 housing units have been destroyed or severely damaged and rendered uninhabitable while nearly 23,000 units have sustained moderate to minor damage, said the office.

At least 88 education facilities have been struck, including 18 UNRWA schools, two of which were used as emergency shelters for the displaced. This means that for the sixth consecutive day, more than 600,000 children have had no access to education at a safe place in Gaza, it said.

Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel and has stopped functioning. Since the start of hostilities on Saturday, seven significant water and sewage facilities serving more than 1 million people were hit by airstrikes and have been severely damaged. Half of the bakeries have less than a week’s supply of wheat flour, while 70 per cent of shops report significantly decreased food stocks, it added.

Humanitarian agencies continue to face major constraints in providing humanitarian assistance. Insecurity is preventing safe access to impacted areas and warehouses, said OCHA.

Despite the challenging conditions, humanitarian workers have provided some assistance, including the distribution of fresh bread to 137,000 displaced people, the delivery of 70,000 litres of fuel to water and sanitation facilities, and the activation of psychosocial support helplines, it said.

UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths on Wednesday allocated $9 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund to urgently respond to relief efforts.

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