UN delivers more aid into Gaza on first day of humanitarian pause
The United Nations was able to scale up delivery of humanitarian assistance into and across Gaza during the humanitarian pause that went into effect on Friday following an agreement reached this week between Israel and Hamas.
Gaza has a population of over two million, with the UN agency that assists Palestine refugee, UNRWA, hosting more than a million displaced people in 156 of its installations across the enclave.
From there, 137 trucks of goods were offloaded by the UNRWA reception point in Gaza, making it the biggest humanitarian convoy received since the start of hostilities on 7 October.
Additionally, 129,000 litres of fuel and four trucks of gas also crossed into Gaza, and 21 critical patients were evacuated in a large-scale medical operation from the north of the enclave.
“Hundreds of thousands of people were assisted with food, water, medical supplies and other essential humanitarian items,” OCHA said.
Hostage release welcomed
The UN welcomed the release of 24 hostages held in Gaza since 7 October and renewed its call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.
Humanitarian teams from the UN and partners will continue to ramp up humanitarian operations to meet the needs of people throughout Gaza in the coming days.
Separately, UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland issued a statement welcoming the start of the implementation of the agreement, while expressing hope for an extended humanitarian ceasefire.
He said the development saw the release of 13 Israeli hostages abducted by Hamas and others, 39 Palestinians from Israeli prisons, and several foreign workers held in Gaza.
Mr. Wennesland – officially the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process - looked forward to additional releases that are expected over the coming days.
'A significant humanitarian breakthrough'
He noted that the humanitarian pause went into effect with relative calm, allowing truckloads of aid to enter Gaza.
“These developments are a significant humanitarian breakthrough that we need to build on. More assistance and supplies must enter the Strip safely and continuously to alleviate the immense suffering of civilians,” he said.
He again called for the release of all hostages, and commended the Governments of Qatar, Egypt, and the United States for their determined efforts to facilitate the agreement.
“I call on all concerned parties to uphold their commitments and refrain from provocations or any actions that could impact the full implementation of this agreement,” he said, while also urging the parties “to exhaust every effort to achieve an extended humanitarian ceasefire and pursue a more peaceful future.”