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UN unable to pick up supplies from Kerem Shalom crossing since June 18: Spokesman

'As occupying power, it is incumbent upon Israeli authorities to restore public order, safety as far as possible and facilitate safe humanitarian access,' says Farhan Haq

Diyar Guldogan  | 21.06.2024 - Update : 21.06.2024
UN unable to pick up supplies from Kerem Shalom crossing since June 18: Spokesman


The UN has not been able to pick up supplies from Israeli Kerem Shalom crossing for last three days, said a spokesman on Friday.

"Since 18 June, the UN has not been able to pick up supplies from Kerem Shalom crossing," UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters.

With humanitarian partners and relevant parties, Haq said the UN is working to address the lack of public order and safety, alongside other impediments to a humanitarian response.

"As the occupying power, it is incumbent upon the Israeli authorities to restore public order and safety as far as possible and facilitate safe humanitarian access so that assistance reaches civilians in need," he added.

Haq also drew the attention the "severely impacted" health system of Gaza, which lacks field hospitals to address soaring needs of people.

"In central and southern Gaza, where the majority of Gaza’s population is now crammed in dire conditions, only seven hospitals remain functional, all partially, including three in Deir al Balah, four in Khan Younis and none in Rafah, alongside eight field hospital," he added.

He said that since the closure of Rafah Crossing on 7 May, all medical evacuations outside Gaza remain halted, with an estimated 2,150 critical patients unable to leave the Strip as of 20 June.

Last week, he said the World Health Organization (WHO) delivered its first cargo through the Ashdod port for shipment to Gaza via Karem Shalom with enough supplies to cover the health needs of 35,000 people.

"While this is a welcome development, the supplies are barely a fraction of what’s needed to sustain the massive health response," he said. "We need a sustained flow of aid into and across Gaza, as well as unimpeded access for humanitarian operations, efforts to be able to resupply hospitals".

Security concerns

Turning to the US-built temporary pier in Gaza, Haq said the logistics of the floating dock is handled by the World Food Program (WFP) which paused its distribution of humanitarian aid from the pier to Gaza recently due to security concerns.

"Until security concerns are addressed, they remain willing to help but, but we're not in a position to resume our activities there at this point," Haq said.

He added that there have been, even in recent days, "fairly close calls" involving UN personnel.

"Earlier today, I've heard a report that World Food Program personnel were carrying out activities near Kerem Shalom, and there was IDF tank fire about 40 meters away from that position.

"So, this is something we're looking at. We're trying to see what happened there and but we take this very seriously," Haq said.

Israel, flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire, has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

The Palestinian death toll from relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since last October has exceeded 37,400, according to the Health Ministry in the besieged enclave.

More than 85,600 people have also been injured in the onslaught, the ministry added.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water, and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in its latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its military operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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