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UNRWA REPORTS 450,000 PEOPLE DISPLACED FROM RAFAH AMID ONGOING ISRAELI BOMBARDMENT

15/05/2024 10:29 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 (Bernama) -- Nearly 450,000 people have been forcibly displaced from Rafah since May 6, as Israeli bombardment continues, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said.

“Empty streets in Rafah as families continue to flee in search of safety.

“People face constant exhaustion, hunger and fear. Nowhere is safe. An immediate ceasefire is the only hope,” it posted on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

UNRWA also posted several photos showing empty streets in Rafah. 

Meanwhile, UNRWA spokesperson Louise Wateridge said inland in Rafah is now a “ghost town”.

“It’s hard to believe there were over one million people sheltering here just a week ago.

“Families have moved as far west as possible, now reaching the shore and along the beach,” she wrote on X.

The development comes as Israeli tanks pushed deeper into Rafah on Tuesday, reaching some residential areas along the southern Gaza's border and causing destruction and damage.

On Tuesday, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres repeated his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to allow more aid deliveries to flow into Gaza.

“I reiterate my appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and for the release of all hostages. I call for the Rafah crossing to be re-opened immediately and for the unimpeded humanitarian access throughout Gaza,” he posted on X. 

Meanwhile, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said ground incursions and heavy fighting also continue to be reported in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp, Gaza city, and eastern Rafah.

Earlier, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Joyce Msuya, said the war in Gaza has become a “moral stain on the conscience of our collective humanity” and has entered “yet another horrifying phase”.

Describing Gaza as a “hellscape for millions trapped under incessant bombardment,” Msuya said those who have escaped death and injury “now risk losing their lives because of a lack of food, safe water, medicine and healthcare”.

“Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings are a ‘lifeline’ for the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza. 

“We also need Israeli authorities to abide by their obligations to facilitate safe, rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid and humanitarian workers. This includes for UNRWA, which has been the backbone of the humanitarian response in Gaza,” she added.

-- BERNAMA

 


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