UN says only 906 aid truckloads reached Gaza since Israel’s Rafah operation began

The UN’s humanitarian office said 97 truckloads have come through a US-built floating pier in central Gaza that began operating a week ago [UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND (CENTCOM) / HANDOUT/Anadolu/Getty]

Aid access to the Gaza Strip is extremely limited with less than 1,000 truckloads of humanitarian assistance entering the enclave since 7 May, after Israel began a military operation in southern Gaza’s Rafah area, the United Nations said on Friday.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that between 7 and 23 May, only 906 truckloads entered the enclave of 2.3 million people, where a famine looms amid a devastating Israeli war.

UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said about 800 of those truckloads were food supplies.

OCHA said 143 truckloads passed through the Israel-controlled Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing in Gaza’s south, while in Gaza’s north 62 passed through the Erez crossing and 604 via Erez West.

It said 97 truckloads have come through a US-built floating pier in central Gaza that began operating a week ago.

The Rafah crossing from Egypt into Gaza has been closed since Israel began stepping up its military operation in the area, creating a backlog of aid in Egypt where some of the food supplies have begun to rot.

Israel and the United States had called on Egypt, which is also concerned about the risk of Palestinians being displaced from Gaza, to reopen the border. Egypt had said it was closed due to the threat posed to aid work by Israel’s military operation.

On Friday, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi agreed with US President Joe Biden by phone to temporarily send humanitarian aid and fuel to the UN via the Karm Abu Salem crossing, the Egyptian presidency said.

Aid shipments could begin as soon as Friday evening, said Egyptian security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The United Nations welcomes the move, Dujarric said. On Thursday he said: “There are a lot of doorways into Gaza… Whether by land or by sea, we don’t control those doorways, but we want them all to be open.”

OCHA said on Friday its figures do not include commercial trucks because the UN has been unable to observe private-sector deliveries through Karm Abu Salem crossing due to insecurity.

“Additionally, just over 1 million litres of fuel have entered the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the military operation in Rafah,” OCHA said in an update posted online.

“This represents an average of 29% of fuel allocations that would have been received under arrangements in place prior to 6 May, further affecting the functioning of bakeries, hospitals, water wells, and other critical infrastructure,” it said.

The UN says at least 500 trucks a day of aid and commercial goods need to enter Gaza. In April, an average of 189 trucks entered a day – the highest since the war started in October.

Israel’s war on Gaza has so far killed at least 35,857, according to the territory’s health ministry.

A Hamas-led attack on Israel on 7 October resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Israel is retaliating against Hamas, which rules Gaza, over an Oct. 7 attack by the Palestinian militants in which more than 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies. Nearly 130 hostages are believed to remain captive in Gaza.

(Reuters, AFP)

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