The UN says that without fuel it can no longer distribute humanitarian aid. | ET REALITY

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The United Nations said Monday that its already dwindling fuel stockpile in the Gaza Strip would run out by Tuesday, preventing the organization from receiving and distributing desperately needed aid that is slowly arriving and jeopardizing the only lifeline for the 2.2 million. of people in the coastal enclave.

The UN agency to help the Palestinians, UNRWA, has been the main coordinator of humanitarian aid crossing into Gaza from Egypt since Israel put Gaza under siege. Trucks carrying essential goods such as water, food, medicine and hygiene products go to UN warehouses in Gaza, where they are unloaded and distributed to other trucks by the UN and its humanitarian agency partners, the UN said.

Andrea De Domenico, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Palestinian territories, told reporters on Monday that starting Tuesday the UN will no longer have enough fuel to operate or the forklifts that unload goods. nor the trucks to distribute them.

As part of its offensive against Hamas, Israel cut off electricity to Gaza and blocked fuel supplies, saying Hamas uses it for rocket attacks and has stockpiled fuel intended for civilians. More than a million Gazans have been displaced and civilians are falling dangerously short of basic human needs.

“Instead of a much-needed increase in this aid, UNRWA colleagues have informed us that, due to a lack of fuel, truck reception operations will no longer be possible from tomorrow,” De Domenico said from Jerusalem. .

A total of 980 trucks carrying essential aid crossed into Gaza from Egypt, including 76 trucks on Sunday, De Domenico said. But the UN has said much more is needed. Before Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, some 500 trucks of humanitarian aid crossed into Gaza daily.

The UN is concerned that fuel shortages could impede its humanitarian operations and the ability of hospitals, which rely on generators in the absence of power, to treat patients. Gaza’s main hospital, Al-Shifa, has reported that a lack of fuel was putting patients in intensive care at risk of dying and that premature babies were being removed from incubators that were now useless. According to Al-Shifa officials, three babies and two cardiology patients had died as of Monday.

Al-Shifa’s critical infrastructure – including its water tanks, oxygen stations, maternity ward and cardiovascular facilities – was damaged by the fighting, De Domenico said. Three nurses died, he said.

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