Middle East

UN Aid Chief Admits North Gaza’s Aid Access Isn’t Improving

The situation for Gazans remains dire despite hopes stemming from recent commitments by Israel to boost assistance – the UN’s top aid official in the Occupied Palestinian Territory said on Friday.

Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator overseeing crisis relief in Gaza, pushed back at Israeli claims that more than 1,000 trucks had entered Gaza in the last few days but only around 800 had been collected on the Palestinian side.

The veteran aid official also maintained that the deconfliction system in which humanitarians shared their coordinates with the warring sides was “consistently inaccurate”, but that he had raised these and other operational concerns with the Israeli military at their first meeting earlier this week.

“It’s very easy for Israel to say we’ve sent you 1,000 trucks so please deliver them inside Gaza,” he said, in a renewed appeal to the Israeli authorities to recognise that their responsibility as the occupying power “only ends when…aid reaches the civilians in Gaza”.

Security vacuum

Describing long delays at checkpoints and a “security vacuum” inside the enclave that continues to hamper the delivery of aid where it is most needed, the UN official noted that the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) team whose vehicle was hit by live ammunition on Thursday had been held “for hours” at a checkpoint on Salah Al Deen road.

So far this month, some 60 hours have been wasted in this way, Mr. McGoldrick insisted. “And then what happens sometimes, it’s too late in the day – because you can only travel in daylight hours – to go north and therefore sometimes the mission is cancelled. And then we get blamed by Israel for cancelling the convoy, cancelling the mission to the north.”

Only three roads are open to humanitarian relief in Gaza today: the middle route via Salah Al Deen road, the coastal Al  Rashid road – and the military road on the east side of Gaza. “At no point in time in the last month and more have we had three or even two of those roads working at the same time simultaneously,” the UN aid coordinator maintained, adding that all of the highways were in “very poor condition”.

The consequences of “very limited” aid missions into the north of the enclave were already clear, judging by how underweight babies are when they are born, Mr. McGoldrick continued.

Speaking from Jerusalem, the veteran aid worker described visiting Kamal Adwan hospital two weeks ago, where “every single patient” in the children’s ward faced life-threatening hunger. 

“The last child I saw was in an incubator who was a two-day-old boy, but who wasn’t prematurely born – he was born in nine months – but he was 1.2 kilos. There are going to be long-term consequences, which will be felt in the development possibility of that child.”

Insisting on the need for a direct telephone line to the Israeli military “and the ability to speak to them”, Mr. McGoldrick noted that the targeting of the NGO World Central Kitchen convoy two weeks ago was only the most recent evidence of the frequent dangers faced by aid teams operating in Gaza.

“We have to have handheld radios, VHF radios, all the things you have in any normal issue, in a normal crisis. We don’t have them,” he said, maintaining that the Israeli authorities had not allowed them for fear that they might be used by Hamas fighters.

 

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11 Comments

  1. As an experienced aid official, it’s evident that the situation in Gaza remains critical despite promises of increased assistance. The challenges faced by humanitarian workers in accessing the northern regions persist, undermining the delivery of much-needed aid. It’s crucial for all parties involved to address the systemic issues hindering the effective distribution of resources and ensure that aid reaches those who need it the most.

  2. Isn’t there any way to improve aid access to North Gaza despite the challenges mentioned in the article?

    1. Improving aid access to North Gaza poses significant challenges due to the ongoing security concerns and logistical barriers highlighted in the article. The UN aid official’s efforts to address these issues with the Israeli military are crucial for ensuring that vital assistance reaches those in need in a timely manner.

  3. It’s disheartening to see the dire situation in Gaza persist despite promises of increased aid. Jamie McGoldrick’s remarks shed light on the challenges faced in delivering essential assistance to those in need. The ongoing security issues and operational hurdles underscore the urgent need for improved access to provide relief to the civilians in Gaza.

  4. Jamie McGoldrick, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator overseeing crisis relief in Gaza, pushes back at Israeli claims that more than 1,000 trucks had entered Gaza in the last few days but only around 800 had been collected on the Palestinian side. The veteran aid official also maintains that the deconfliction system in which humanitarians share their coordinates with the warring sides is “consistently inaccurate”, but that he has raised these and other operational concerns with the Israeli military at their first meeting earlier this week. “It’s very easy for Israel to say they’ve sent you 1,000 trucks so please deliver them inside Gaza,” she said, in a renewed appeal to the Israeli authorities to recognize that their responsibility as the occupying power “only ends when…aid reaches the civilians in Gaza”. Describing long delays at checkpoints and a “security vacuum” inside the enclave that continues to hamper the delivery of aid where it is most needed, the UN official notes that the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) team whose vehicle was hit by live ammunition.

  5. Emma Thompson disagrees with the Israeli claims and supports Jamie McGoldrick’s effort to highlight the challenges faced in delivering aid to Gaza. She believes that the responsibility of the occupying power extends to ensuring aid reaches the civilians in Gaza, emphasizing the urgent need for improved access to provide vital assistance.

  6. Is there any indication of when the aid access situation might improve in North Gaza despite these challenges?

    1. There are no clear indications at the moment of when the aid access situation in North Gaza might improve, given the ongoing challenges and obstacles mentioned by the UN Aid Chief. It seems that the situation remains complex and efforts are required from all parties involved to address the issues at hand.

  7. As a seasoned aid worker, it is disheartening to hear that despite promising commitments, aid access in North Gaza is still not improving. The logistical challenges highlighted by Jamie McGoldrick show that there is still a long way to go in ensuring essential assistance reaches those in need.

  8. Jamie McGoldrick’s statement reflects the ongoing challenges in providing aid to North Gaza. It’s disheartening to see that despite promises, the situation for Gazans remains dire. McGoldrick’s efforts to address operational concerns with Israeli authorities are crucial for ensuring aid reaches those in need.

  9. Isn’t it concerning that despite commitments, the aid access in North Gaza is not improving? What actions can be taken to address the security vacuum and ensure aid reaches those in need?

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