Gaza is experiencing an escalating humanitarian crisis as the death toll in the region crossed the 8000 mark. Citizens living in the area are also subjected to a shortage of resources like food water and medical aid.
The situation has become so dire that thousands decided to break into an aid warehouse, taking flour and basic hygiene products. This underlines the stark reality of the situation in Gaza where most are unable to secure basic necessities on a day-to-day basis.
The information regarding this incident was released by a United Nations agency which pointed out the break down of law and order in the region. Just 3 weeks into the conflict, this particular problem has become a big issue for both civilians and the authorities in Gaza.
The situation escalated when Israel launched the ‘second phase’ of its offensive in the region, sending infantry backed by tanks to initiate a large-scale offensive push in the area. Previously, Israel chose to batter the region with bombardments and attacks from air, sea and land.
The entry of tanks into the fray was a premeditated move which was no big secret. Despite knowing the tank offensive was eminent, Hamas has found it hard to deal with the new approach being used by Israel.
Reports released by Gaza’s Ministry of Health state that more than 8000 people have lost their lives due to Israel’s offensive. They have also claimed that most of these people were women and children, in an attempt to draw attention to the humanitarian crisis caused by such an attack.
The Ministry of Health’s claims though, are being taken with a pinch of salt by most observers as there are doubts about how credible their data is. From a neutral perspective, the likelihood of the Ministry being used by Hamas to proliferate propaganda is quite high.
On the Israeli side, roughly 1,500 people have lost their lives, most of whom were civilians. The majority of these fatalities occurred during the initial attack by Hamas on October 7th.
Israel also took to bombing Gaza heavily over the weekend, knocking over most of the communications apparatus in the region. Due to this, millions of people in the region were cut off from the rest of the world.
The system was restored by Sunday, bringing a measure of relief, which was short lived as Israel immediately struck 450 militant command centers and anti-tank missile installations. Following this, ground troops backed by armored vehicles, mostly tanks, pushed into the area.
Thomas White, the Gaza director for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), gave a statement regarding the warehouse break-in, calling it “a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza.”
He added, “People are scared, frustrated and desperate.” Highlighting the inherent anxiety and helplessness that the citizens of Gaza are living with.
The UNRWA is known for providing a variety of services to the people of Gaza, its schools now acting as shelters for displaced citizens. Israel’s blockade of Gaza has been quite stringent, allowing only a slight whisper of aid to pass through the border with Egypt.
The storage facility holding this aid was one of the first to be broken into. According to Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for UNRWA, a total of 4 facilities were broken into on Friday.
Despite claims that the government of Israel will allow aid to flow into the region soon, no real details regarding such an effort have been made public.
Israel’s head of civil affairs of COGAT, Elad Goren stated that the Israeli defense body which handles Palestinian civil affairs, has established a humanitarian zone in the south of Gaza, near the city of Khan Younis.
He also claimed that Israel had reopened two water lines in southern Gaza but these claims have not been verified by independent sources.
Israel also struck the area around Shifa Hospital, under the pretense that Hamas has established a secret command center there. These claims are unsubstantiated as of now. The result was the destruction of approach roads to the hospital due to the bombing.
The hospital is chock full of injured citizens and those seeking shelter from the continuous waves of bombs being dropped on Gaza.
Mahmoud al-Sawah, one of those taking cover at the hospital had this to say, “Reaching the hospital has become increasingly difficult, it seems they want to cut off the area.”
The past two days have been described by many as the most violent since the conflict began. Israeli authorities also pushed for other hospitals in the region to be evacuated, but were met with a flat refusal as that would mean the death of multiple patients who are seriously injured.
While a majority of citizens have moved south after evacuation notices were given by Israeli authorities, hundreds of thousands are still in the northern region. There have also been reports of bombings in ‘safe zone’ leading to hysteria among citizens.