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UN agency says to halt Gaza work unless fuel arrives

By AFP - Oct 25,2023 - Last updated at Oct 25,2023

A man unloads humanitarian aid on a convoy of lorries entering the Gaza Strip from Egypt via the Rafah border crossing on Saturday (AFP photo)

JERUSALEM — The UN agency for Palestinian refugees warned it would be forced to stop working across the Gaza Strip on Wednesday unless there were urgent fuel deliveries to the war-torn territory.

“If we do not get fuel urgently, we will be forced to halt our operations in the Gaza Strip as of tomorrow night,” UNRWA said on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday.

Aid agencies have sounded the alarm about the lack of fuel, which is used to power vital services in Gaza such as hospitals which are relying on generators.

“Time is running out. We urgently need fuel,” Juliette Touma, UNRWA communications director, told AFP.

Six hospitals across Gaza have already shut down due to the lack of fuel, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Tuesday.

The WHO said it had on Monday, with UNRWA support, delivered limited supplies for ambulances and to four hospitals in southern Gaza.

“However, this is only enough to keep ambulances and critical hospital functions running for a little over 24 hours,” WHO said earlier on Tuesday.

At the weekend, the first aid delivery entered Gaza since the October 7 war erupted between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, but it did not include fuel.

Speaking at the UN headquarters, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the limited supplies amounted to “a drop of aid in an ocean of need”.

“Without fuel, aid cannot be delivered, hospitals will not have power and drinking water cannot be purified or even pumped,” he told the Security Council.

 

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