Almost 25,000 Palestinians have reportedly been killed in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza since Oct. 7 last year, the majority women and children, a United Nations (UN) official said Friday.
Ajith Sunghay, an official with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, told a press briefing via video-link from Gaza that the situation there was “a massive humanitarian crisis.” In Rafah, the official said that since January 15 he had witnessed people arriving from various places in their thousands and in desperate situations, setting up makeshift shelters with any materials they could find. “The communications blackout has continued since January 12, contributing to fear and confusion. Bombings of Middle Gaza and Khan Younis were audible in Raffah,” he said.
Speaking from Amman, Tess Ingram from the UN Children’s Fund told Friday’s press briefing that some 135,000 children under the age of two in Gaza are at severe risk of malnutrition. In the north of Gaza, she said, the situation is even worse. Ingram said that during her week in Gaza she had seen new mothers who had lost their babies, and other babies with serious injuries and illnesses. It is difficult to establish the exact infant mortality rate at the moment, Ingram said, due to difficult conditions and limited access. However, she underlined that there is no doubt that babies are dying of hunger, illness, cold, and bombardment, and there is no access to adequate aid.