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UN halts aid to North Gaza due to security issues.

Photo-Le Monde

In response to escalating violence and disorder in northern Gaza, the United Nations' food agency made the difficult decision to suspend aid deliveries to the region, despite the dire humanitarian situation and widespread hunger. The World Food Programme (WFP) had recently resumed its efforts to provide much-needed assistance to the area after a three-week hiatus due to security concerns. However, the resumption was met with chaos and violence, as a convoy of trucks encountered gunfire and looting, leading to a collapse of civil order.

Amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, now in its twentieth week, UN agencies have repeatedly raised alarms about the severe scarcity of food and safe water in Gaza. The WFP highlighted "unprecedented levels of desperation" among the population, underscoring the urgent need for sustained humanitarian assistance. Initially intending to send food trucks daily for a week, the agency faced significant obstacles on the ground, with attempts to board trucks and instances of violence disrupting delivery operations.

The deteriorating security situation reached a critical point when a second convoy encountered rampant chaos and violence, resulting in looting of trucks and physical assaults on personnel. In the face of such grave threats to safety, the WFP made the difficult decision to suspend aid deliveries until conditions improve to ensure the safety of both aid workers and recipients. However, this suspension comes with grave consequences, as it exacerbates an already dire situation, leaving more people at risk of starvation.

Since the onset of the conflict, Gaza has been mired in a food crisis exacerbated by restricted access to outside aid. The conflict, triggered by Hamas's attack on southern Israel in October, has resulted in significant casualties on both sides, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence. As the death toll rises and humanitarian conditions deteriorate, the urgent need for a ceasefire and meaningful dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict becomes increasingly apparent. In the meantime, international organizations like the WFP continue to grapple with the challenge of delivering lifesaving assistance in an increasingly volatile and unpredictable environment.

Feb. 21, 2024 2:24 p.m. 1601

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