Oxfam warned today that it cannot reach around 450,000 or more people in Gaza because of fighting and aerial bombardment. The destruction and indiscriminate threat to life makes any emergency aid, at the moment, impossible to mount.
Many water wells and pumping stations have been damaged by Israel’s bombardments. These facilities are the only way for people living in Gaza to get clean water. 40 percent of Gaza water supplies have been affected.
People are struggling to secure food, water, and medicines. Many have been forced to spend their savings or are trying to sell assets.
Many who have lost their homes have been forced into temporary shelters.
As much as 200,000 hectares of agricultural land has been bombed or is currently inaccessible to farmers because of the danger of attack. Transport and movement around Gaza is not only unsafe but now made highly difficult because of the bomb damage to roads and debris from destroyed buildings. Some routes are blocked entirely. Oxfam warns that it could take weeks to start meaningful repairs and organise some recovery and resumption of normality for people in Gaza, even if a ceasefire was declared today.
Shane Stevenson, Oxfam Country Director for the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, said, “The scale of suffering is immense yet we cannot respond properly. Until the security situation improves things will quickly deteriorate further. The aerial assaults have taken lives and any sense of safety, but they are also taking away people’s options to cope – to buy food and supplies, and to go about their lives. Families are telling us that they are too scared to leave their homes for food and some have already run out of drinking water. The people of Gaza are psychologically exhausted and fearful and exposed. They need peace now in order to pick up the broken pieces of their lives.”
Stevenson continued, “Gaza is also in the midst of coping with the Covid pandemic. People need access to water and medicines and hospitals to halt the virus spread and help nurse sufferers to recovery. Adding conflict on top of Covid feels like a recipe for disaster."