UN Chief Calls for Reopening of Rafah Border Crossing Immediately

Wed May 15 2024
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UNITED NATIONS: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed shock at the escalation of Israeli bombardments in and around Rafah in southern Gaza, according to his spokesperson on Tuesday.

“These developments are worsening an already dire situation and hindering humanitarian access. Meanwhile, Hamas continues to indiscriminately fire rockets,” said UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq.

Guterres stressed the need to protect civilians, stating, “For people in Gaza, nowhere is safe now.” He reiterated his urgent appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the release of all hostages.

Guterres also called for the immediate reopening of the Rafah crossing and unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Gaza.

According to the UN Palestine refugee agency UNRWA, large parts of Rafah have turned into “ghost towns.” Around 450,000 people have fled the area, seeking shelter in rubble and sand dunes.

Displaced families are arriving at sites without adequate shelter, latrines, and water points, said Haq. He emphasized that the situation at displacement sites cannot improve without supplies entering Gaza and sufficient fuel for transportation.

A senior UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) official, Adele Khodr, said the escalation in Rafah and Gaza has deepened the suffering of hundreds of thousands of children. Khodr urged the swift opening of border crossings and safe humanitarian access to deliver aid to children in Gaza.

The UN humanitarian affairs department OCHA reports that despite challenges and insecurity, efforts are still being made to provide life-saving assistance. Health services at Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis are being restored, with dialysis treatment already provided.

OCHA also reported an attack by Israeli settlers on aid trucks bound for Gaza on Monday. The settlers vandalized several vehicles at the Tarqumiya checkpoint and near the barrier by Beit ‘Awwa.

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