By Jordie Hannum, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign
As the conflict in Gaza continues, United Nations humanitarian agencies are working around the clock to address desperate civilian needs. This morning, UN Under-Secretary-General Valerie Amos addressed the Security Council, outlining the UN’s urgent response and detailing the challenges that aid workers still face.
In case you missed it, here are five key excerpts from her speech on the UN’s role in Gaza.
1. Up to 440,000 people in Gaza are now displaced, almost 24 percent of the population. And over 240,000 are being hosted in UNRWA schools…. They come to UN facilities for protection…
2. The UN and our partners on the ground are working to meet increasing humanitarian needs. UNRWA is delivering water and food to shelters in addition to its regular programs. The World Food Programme is providing food to people sheltering at UNRWA and other shelters, as well as to patients and hospital staff. The World Health Organization is facilitating the transfer of medical supplies to hospitals including fluids and surgical kits, and is coordinating requests from NGO hospitals for medical supplies, fuel and other supplies. UNICEF is delivering pediatric drugs to hospitals and health facilities, is providing psychological support for children and families and is working to restore access to water and sanitation. But the relief effort is stretched.
3. We urgently need the Government of Israel, Hamas and other militant groups to comply with their international legal obligations, including international humanitarian and human rights law.
4. Under international law, UN operations, personnel and premises, must remain inviolable.
5. Over 103 UN facilities have come under attack. The UN has lost seven staff.
Of course, Amos’ whole statement is worth a read, and you can get the full text here.
Photo credit: UNRWA