THOUSAND OSI Translation. Region: Spanish/Latin America/UN –
Source: United Nations – in English 4
Headline: Israel-Palestine: Food convoy hit by Israeli naval artillery fire in northern Gaza
The Director of Affairs for the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA) reported Monday that a food convoy waiting to enter northern Gaza was hit by Israeli naval artillery fire. “Fortunately, no one was injured,” noted Tom White.
The official showed through a publication on X, former Twitter, two photographs of a truck parked in front of a UN vehicle with a huge hole where part of its cargo and a protective tarp had been.
Several boxes of supplies lay strewn on the shoulder, but it was unclear what they contained and where the truck was.
The plight of Gaza City
The convoy attack followed three failed attempts to reach northern Gaza City by the World Food Program (WFP) last week.
“We have only been able to send four convoys in the month of January, or about 35 truckloads of food, enough for almost 130,000 people,” said WFP Palestine Country Director Matthew Hollingworth.
“(It’s) really insufficient to prevent a famine,” the food agency official said.
In a video posted on X from central Gaza, Hollingworth described how “desperately difficult” it is for aid convoys to move through the enclave after nearly four months of non-stop Israeli bombardment.
“There is more damage everywhere, rubble, closed roads, but there is also active fighting in several areas of the Strip,” he said. Getting through checkpoints and simply moving around Gaza from the southern governorate of Rafah was now extremely difficult. There are already “literally 1.5 million people trapped in Rafah. Everyone is desperate and begging for help.”
To date, WFP has provided emergency rations, canned food, wheat flour and hot meals to about 1.4 million people, but much more aid is urgently needed, the agency insisted.
Food, shelter and medicine shortages
UNRWA reported that the number of displaced persons in Gaza reached 2.3 million, which is about 75% of the population.
More than half are children, many of whom face “acute shortages of food, water, shelter and medicine,” the agency warned, adding that continued heavy fighting around Khan Younis “continues to push thousands of people into the southern city of Rafah, which is already home to more than half of Gaza’s population. Most are living in makeshift structures, tents or in the open.”
According to the latest update on the conflict provided by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israeli forces have continued to destroy housing blocks throughout the enclave; in the south, east and center of Khan Younis and in the Al Sabra neighborhood of Gaza City. No casualties have been reported in the latest incidents, OCHA noted.
Meanwhile, some 800 government officials from Western countries published an open letter over the weekend denouncing their countries’ support for the war, calling it “one of the worst human catastrophes of this century.”
The officials, who signed the letter anonymously, are believed to be diplomats from the United States and several European countries, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.
They said they are protesting because their governments have supported Israel “without conditions or real accountability,” resulting in “tens of thousands of preventable civilian deaths” and the “deliberate” blockade of aid, which has left “thousands of civilians at risk of starvation and slow death.”
Fear of escalation
Last Friday, the United States and the United Kingdom attacked pro-Iranian militias in Iraq and Syria, following the death of three U.S. servicemen in an attack on a U.S. base in Jordan.
Amid continued calls for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages, concerns remain that the situation could be further exacerbated by developments in the Red Sea, where Houthi fighters have attacked vessels allegedly linked to Israel.
On Israel’s border with Lebanon, cross-border exchanges of fire with Hezbollah have also raised concerns about regional instability.
The latest casualty toll from the war, triggered by Hamas-led attacks on October 7 that left some 1,200 dead and another 250 hostages, is at least 27,365 Palestinians killed in Gaza and 66,630 wounded, according to health authorities in the enclave.
OCHA also noted that 223 soldiers have been killed in the ground offensive in Gaza and 1296 soldiers have been wounded, citing the Israeli military.
The Secretary-General, in consultation with UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini, reported Monday that he has appointed an independent Review Panel to assess whether the agency “is doing everything in its power to ensure neutrality and respond to allegations of serious violations when they occur.”
The review will be led by former French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, who will work with three research organizations: the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Sweden, the Chr. Michelsen Institute of Norway and the Danish Institute for Human Rights.
António Guterres noted that the Review Group will begin its work on February 14 and is expected to present an interim report by the end of March and a final report by the end of April.
This independent review will be conducted in parallel with an investigation currently underway by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services into allegations of the involvement of 12 agency staff members in Hamas attacks in southern Israel last October 7.
Guterres noted that the allegations come at a time when UNRWA, the largest UN organization in the region, is working under extremely difficult conditions to provide vital assistance to the two million people in the Strip.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.