War in the Middle East: UN emergency aid coordinator calls for access to Gaza Strip

After the devastating explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip, with potentially hundreds of victims, UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths has called for immediate access for aid to the area.

War in the Middle East: UN emergency aid coordinator calls for access to Gaza Strip

After the devastating explosion at a hospital in the Gaza Strip, with potentially hundreds of victims, UN emergency aid coordinator Martin Griffiths has called for immediate access for aid to the area. “What we urgently need is immediate, secure humanitarian access throughout Gaza,” Griffiths told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. He pointed to the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip: "Yesterday's destruction of the hospital has further increased the pressure on this crumbling, battered and sad health system."

Mutual blame

The Hamas-controlled health authority immediately blamed Israel for the rocket strike at the clinic on Tuesday evening, and neighboring Arab states followed suit. Israel firmly rejected this and spoke of the impact of a stray rocket from the militant Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad.

Griffiths noted that those injured in the explosion had been taken to another hospital, "which is one of the many other hospitals in the Gaza Strip that are on the verge of collapse." As a result of the explosion in the clinic, the Gaza Strip will also lose a facility that, before the current hostilities, treated more than 45,000 patients per year.

100 trucks per day for aid deliveries

Griffiths continued: "We urgently need a mechanism, agreed by all relevant parties, to enable the regular delivery of aid across the Gaza Strip and to bring the distribution of aid back to the level that existed before these terrible weeks - with 100 trucks a day providing supplies to people in need across the Gaza Strip. We must return to that goal."

Griffiths explained that the now-destroyed hospital had been fully functional before the explosion and was therefore overcrowded with patients, including women and children. Dozens of nurses and health workers were also in the building. Griffiths also pointed out the extreme scarcity of water for people. They are increasingly forced to rely on unsafe sources, putting the population at risk of water-borne diseases.

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