The Gaza Strip is on the verge of a severe humanitarian crisis as Israel imposes a total blockade in response to Hamas attacks. The blockade, announced on Monday, will cut off electricity, food, fuel, and water supplies. Since Saturday, no aid has reached the region, leaving the streets deserted and littered with debris from collapsed buildings due to Israeli airstrikes. The death toll from these attacks is nearing 700, with thousands more injured.
The Gaza Strip, home to approximately 2.3 million people, is governed by Hamas militants. However, Israel controls its airspace, shoreline, and border crossings, while Egypt also strictly regulates its border with Gaza. The majority of the population, 80%, relies on humanitarian aid, primarily due to ongoing conflicts with Israel.
The blockade has halted all supplies, including food and medicine, from entering Gaza. The UN has reported that over a dozen healthcare workers have been killed or injured, and at least seven medical centers have been damaged. The region’s only source of electricity, the Gaza Power Plant, could run out of fuel within days, according to Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN secretary-general.
The World Food Programme is ramping up its efforts to distribute food to up to 100,000 displaced Palestinians, with plans to increase this eight-fold in the coming days. Even before the blockade, Gaza residents were already grappling with food insecurity, movement restrictions, and water shortages.
Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant announced the total blockade on Monday, stating, “No electricity, no food, no water, no gas – it’s all closed.” The Israeli infrastructure minister subsequently ordered the immediate cut-off of water supplies to Gaza.
The Palestinian health ministry has called on international actors to urge Israel to restore power lines and supply emergency needs, including medicine, fuel, and power generators. Israel has launched extensive retaliatory airstrikes into Gaza, with reports of civilian casualties and damage to refugee camps and a United Nations school.
Read more at BBC News.