Thursday, February 22, 2024

Thousands break into aid warehouses in Gaza

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Deir Al-Balah, Oct 29: Thousands of people broke into aid warehouses in Gaza to take flour and basic hygiene products, a UN agency said on Sunday, in a mark of growing desperation and the breakdown of public order three weeks into the war between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said the death toll among Palestinians has passed 8,000 – mostly women and minors. It’s a toll without precedent in decades of Israeli-Palestinian violence, and one that is expected to climb even more rapidly as Israel presses its ground offensive.
Thomas White, Gaza for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, said the warehouse break-ins were “a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza. People are scared, frustrated and desperate,” he said.
UNRWA provides basic services to hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza. Its schools across the territory have been transformed into packed shelters housing Palestinians displaced by the conflict.
Israel has allowed only a small trickle of aid to enter from Egypt, some of which was stored in one of the warehouses that was broken into, UNRWA said.
Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for the agency, said the crowds broke into four facilities on Saturday. She said the warehouses did not contain any fuel, which has been in critically short supply since Israel cut off all shipments after the start of the war.
The Palestinian death toll in Gaza rose on Saturday to just over 8,000 people since the war began, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.
An estimated 1,700 people remain trapped beneath the rubble, according to the Health Ministry, which has said it bases its estimates on distress calls it received.
Israel says its strikes target Hamas fighters and infrastructure and that the militants operate among civilians, putting them in danger.
More than 1.4 million people across Gaza have fled their homes, nearly half crowding into UN schools and shelters, following repeated warnings by the Israeli military that they would be in danger if they remained in northern Gaza.
Gaza’s sole power plant shut down shortly after the start of the war, and Israel has allowed no fuel to enter, saying Hamas would use it for military purposes.
Hospitals are struggling to keep emergency generators running to operate incubators and other life-saving equipment, and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees is also trying to keep water pumps and bakeries running to meet essential needs. (AP)

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