A top official of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said Thursday that the scale of destruction in the Gaza Strip from Israeli bombardments is unprecedented, with nearly every single person not having enough food and most without access to clean drinking water.
“Today Gaza look looks like it’s been hit by an earthquake, except it’s man-made and it could have been totally avoided,” UNRWA communications director Juliette Touma said in a video call with journalists at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
Touma said that all communications services are down across Gaza for the fourth time since Oct. 7, noting it is not possible to coordinate and distribute humanitarian aid as a result.
“We have seen fuel and food and water and humanitarian assistance being used as a weapon of war,” she said, referring to the tightened Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, adding "all of this brings us back to the medieval ages."
“We have just witnessed in the past week the largest displacement of Palestinians since 1948. People are forced to migrate in masses before our eyes, and while some recall their traumas in the past, others witness the traumas of their ancestors,” she said in reference to the Nakba, or mass displacement of Palestinians from what is now Israel during the 1948 war.
Touma said around 800,000 people had taken refuge in UNRWA facilities in the Gaza Strip.
"The northern, southern and central regions of Gaza are not safe. There is no safe place in Gaza, and 103 United Nations employees who had nothing to do with this conflict lost their lives," she added.
"These were our colleagues, civil servants of the UN dedicated to serving their community. They are dead now."
Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Oct. 7.
At least 11,500 Palestinians have since been killed, including more than 7,800 women and children, and more than 29,200 injured, according to the latest figures from Palestinian authorities.
Thousands of buildings, including hospitals, mosques and churches, have also been damaged or destroyed.
The Israeli death toll, meanwhile, is around 1,200, according to official figures.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.