UNRWA said that Israel has allowed only a small trickle of aid to enter from Egypt, adding, that a few were stored in one of the warehouses that was broken into.
Societal order is beginning to collapse in the besieged Gaza Strip after thousands of desperate people raided UN warehouses in search of food, amid continuing bombardment by Israeli airstrikes and a widening ground offensive as the war enters its fourth week, a media report said.
Thomas White, the head of the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), said on Sunday that wheat, flour and hygiene supplies had been taken overnight from several UN-run centres across the blockaded 41 km by 12 km strip, home to more than 2 million trapped people, The Guardian reported.
Amid Israel widening its ground offensive to take over Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, thousands of people broke into aid warehouses in Gaza to take flour and basic hygiene products, news agency AP quoted a UN agency as saying on Sunday.
The United Nations noted the growing desperation and the breakdown of public order, following the war between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.
Over the weekend, tanks and infantry were pushed into Gaza by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he announced a “second stage” in the war.
UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, representative Thomas White said, as quoted by AP, “The warehouse break-ins were a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza. People are scared, frustrated, and desperate.”
According to details, the UNRWA provides basic services to hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza. It added hospitals are struggling to keep emergency generators running to operate incubators and other life-saving equipment.
Meanwhile, UNRWA said that Israel has allowed only a small trickle of aid to enter from Egypt, adding, that a few were stored in one of the warehouses that was broken into.
Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for the agency, said the crowds broke into four facilities on Saturday. She added the warehouses did not contain any fuel, which has been in critically short supply since Israel cut off all shipments after the start of the war.
More than a week ago, Israel had ordered the Palestinian Red Crescent, another Gaza City hospital, to evacuate. The hospital had said that the Israeli airstrikes had hit as close as 50 meters (yards) from the Al-Quds Hospital, where 12,000 people are sheltering.
Recently, the Israeli army released computer-generated images showing what it said were Hamas installations in and around Shifa Hospital, however, it has not substantiated them.
On Saturday, the Palestinian death toll in Gaza rose to just over 7,700 people since the war began, including 377 deaths reported since late Friday, said the Gaza Health Ministry, adding most of those killed are women and minors.
According to the Health Ministry, an estimated 1,700 people remain trapped beneath the rubble.
Apart from this, data says that over 1.4 million people across Gaza have fled their homes and most of them crowded into UN schools and shelters.
“This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege. The needs of the communities are immense, if only for basic survival, while the aid we receive is meagre and inconsistent,” White said.
Basic services in Gaza have crumbled after three weeks of a near-total siege, leaving people exposed to serious outbreaks of disease as streets overflow with sewage, and food, water and medicine run out, The Guardian reported.
Israel sharply escalated an already devastating aerial campaign on the coastal exclave on Friday night that has killed more than 8,000 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Under the cover of strikes and artillery, Israeli ground troops have begun moving into the north of the strip, in the areas of Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun in what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described as the “second stage of war” triggered by Hamas’ rampage across southern Israel on October 7, when it killed 1,400 people and kidnapped 230 hostages, The Guardian reported.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) said that over the last 24 hours, they had hit 450 targets belonging to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that seized control of Gaza in 2007, including command centres, observation posts and anti-tank guided missile launch positions, as well as another 150 targets underground in the north of the territory.
Ground fighting was also reported to the east of the Bureij refugee camp and the city of Khan Younis in central Gaza — approach routes for Israeli incursions in the past, the report said.