UNRWA highlights challenges in delivering aid to Gaza amid escalating crisis

According to the UN, from May 6 to May 25, only 143 humanitarian trucks managed to cross into Gaza through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing. This number starkly contrasts with the average of 146 trucks per day that entered Gaza in April, highlighting the severe reduction in aid flow.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has raised concerns over the severe difficulties in delivering much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza. This follows Israel’s intensified ground offensive in Rafah, which began on May 7, significantly disrupting aid supplies.

According to the UN, from May 6 to May 25, only 143 humanitarian trucks managed to cross into Gaza through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing. This number starkly contrasts with the average of 146 trucks per day that entered Gaza in April, highlighting the severe reduction in aid flow.

Sam Rose, UNRWA’s director of planning, emphasized the critical situation, describing the recent entry of aid trucks as a “positive development” yet insufficient to meet the dire needs of the Gazan population. “We see this as a positive development, something we have been calling for a long time. But until we can get those supplies in and distribute them around Gaza, only then we will be able to resume distribution of flour and other food commodities to the population that remains inside Rafah and other parts of Gaza,” Rose said, as reported by Al-Jazeera.

Rose detailed the escalating challenges since October in coordinating the entry of supplies through the Karem Abu Salem crossing. He stressed the importance of detailed coordination with Israeli authorities, which has become increasingly complex.

“We also need to coordinate the entry of fuel through the same crossing. Without the fuels, we cannot run trucks and generators that power water wells, hospitals, intensive care units, dialysis machines, etc.,” he added.

The situation is further exacerbated by thousands of aid trucks stuck at the borders, either in Egypt or in Ashdod, Israel, unable to proceed into Gaza. “We have thousands of aid trucks either inside Egypt [across the border from Rafah] or Ashdod in Israel. So aid is there on the boundaries close-by while the population in Gaza gets closer to famine,” Rose warned.

The reduction in aid has dire implications for Gaza’s nearly two million residents, many of whom rely on UNRWA and other humanitarian aid to survive. The lack of fuel has already impacted the operation of critical infrastructure, including water wells and medical facilities, pushing the region closer to a humanitarian catastrophe.

As the situation continues to deteriorate, UNRWA and other humanitarian agencies are urgently calling for increased international efforts and cooperation to facilitate the safe and rapid entry of aid into Gaza to prevent further escalation of the crisis.