UN Reports Over 450,000 Palestinians Displaced from Gaza’s Rafah Since May 6

Tue May 14 2024
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RAFAH: The United Nations reported on Tuesday that nearly 450,000 Palestinian people have been displaced from Rafah, the densely populated city in southern Gaza, since Israel began issuing evacuation orders eight days ago.

This mass exodus, compounded by renewed Israeli bombardment in northern Gaza, has resulted in around a quarter of Gaza’s population, approximately 2.4 million people, being displaced within just over a week.

UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, provided the alarming statistics, stating that almost 450,000 Palestinians have been forcibly displaced from Rafah since May 6, when Israel first issued evacuation orders for eastern Rafah. These orders have expanded in scope since then, as Israel readies itself for a potential ground assault, with tanks and troops already entering Rafah and seizing crucial crossings on the Egyptian border.

The UN has issued dire warnings of a looming humanitarian catastrophe if Israel proceeds with a full-scale invasion of Rafah, a city that has become a sanctuary for 1.4 million people, many of whom have been displaced from other conflict-ridden areas within Gaza.

Empty streets in Rafah bear witness to the ongoing exodus, as families flee in search of safety amid constant exhaustion, hunger, and fear. UNRWA’s social media post underscored the urgency of an immediate ceasefire, emphasizing that nowhere in Rafah is safe for its beleaguered residents.

Israel’s directives have instructed evacuees to head to the Al-Mawasi “humanitarian zone” on the coast northwest of Rafah. However, aid organizations caution that this area is ill-prepared to accommodate such a massive influx of people, exacerbating the already dire humanitarian situation.

Meanwhile, UNRWA highlighted the dire conditions in Khan Younis, where infrastructure has been completely obliterated, leaving residents without essential services such as water, electricity, and sewage. Displaced Palestinians, fleeing Rafah, find themselves returning to areas that are unfit for habitation due to widespread destruction.

The relentless bombardment and ground offensive by Israel in Gaza have resulted in a staggering death toll, with at least 35,173 Palestinian people, mostly women and children, have been killed, according to the Gaza health ministry.

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