The United Nations and the Egyptian Red Crescent provided civilians with food, water, medicine and medical supplies on Saturday
Twenty United Nations aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, marking the first time humanitarian aid was provided in the two weeks since Hamas militants’ surprise attack killed more than 1,000 civilians in Israel.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), World Food Program (WFP) and World Health Organization (WHO) issued a joint statement on Saturday regarding “a first, but limited, shipment of life-saving humanitarian supplies from the United Nations and the Egyptian Red Crescent.”
“It will provide an urgently needed lifeline to some of the hundreds of thousands of civilians, mostly women and children, who have been cut off from water, food, medicine, fuel and other essentials. But it is only a small beginning and far from enough,” the organizations said in the statement, adding that “more than 1.6 million people in Gaza are in critical need of humanitarian aid.”
UNICEF noted in a separate statement on Saturday that the organization provided roughly 22,000 people with enough drinking water (44,000 bottles) for a day.
CNN reported that the aid vehicles entered through the Rafah crossing located on the border of Egypt and the Gaza Strip during the brief time it was open for the first time since the attack on Oct. 7.
According to the outlet, 13 aid trucks carried medicine and medical supplies, five carried food, and the remaining two carried water. However, none carried fuel.
UNICEF wrote in its sole statement that “unless we can provide humanitarian supplies consistently, we face the real threat of life-threatening disease outbreaks.”
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The joint statement from the five humanitarian aid organizations echoed the sentiment: “With so much civilian infrastructure in Gaza damaged or destroyed in nearly two weeks of constant bombings, including shelters, health facilities, water, sanitation, and electrical systems, time is running out before mortality rates could skyrocket due to disease outbreaks and lack of health-care capacity.”
U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement from the White House on Saturday, in which he shared that “the opening of this essential supply route was the result of days of diplomatic engagement at the highest levels.”
According to the statement, Biden “made it clear from the outset of this crisis — in both my public statements and private conversations — that humanitarian assistance was a critical and urgent need that had to get moving, and I express my deep personal appreciation for the leadership of President Al-Sisi of Egypt, Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, and the United Nations to allow the resumption of this assistance.”
“The United States remains committed to ensuring that civilians in Gaza will continue to have access to food, water, medical care and other assistance, without diversion by Hamas,” Biden’s statement continued. “We will continue to work with all parties to keep the Rafah crossing in operation to enable the continued movement of aid that is imperative to the welfare of the people of Gaza, and to continue working to protect civilians, consistent with obligations under international humanitarian law.”
The statement concluded, “We also continue to work around the clock, in partnership with Egypt and Israel, to facilitate the ability of U.S. citizens and their immediate family members to exit Gaza safely and travel via Egypt to their final destinations.”
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