Israel ‘pause’ in Gaza had no impact on aid supplies: WHO

Geneva   -   A daily “pause” the Israeli military declared in Gaza to facilitate aid flows has had no impact on deliveries of badly needed aid, the UN’s health agency said Friday.

“So overall, we the UN can say that we did not see an impact on the humanitarian supplies coming in since that, I will say, unilateral announcement of this technical pause,” said Richard Peeperkorn, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the Palestinian territories. “That is the overall assessment.” Over the weekend, the Israeli military announced a daily humanitarian “pause” in fighting on a key road in southern Gaza.

Days later however, a United Nations spokesman said “this has yet to translate into more aid reaching people in need”. According to the WHO, as of May 17, only 750 people remained in the city of Rafah. There were between 60,000 and 75,000 in the Al-Mawasi area in the south of the Gaza Strip, where many Palestinians have taken refuge since the start of the Israeli offensive in Rafah.

Dr Thanos Gargavanis, a trauma surgeon and emergency officer at the WHO, said the UN in Gaza was trying to “operate in an unworkable environment”. Returning from Gaza, the UN Women’s Special Representative for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Maryse Guimond, described the territory as a “world of devastation”.  She added: “More than one million people in Gaza are in constant displacement” in the hope of finding somewhere safe. However, the WHO’s Dr Gargavanis said that “no place is safe”.