UN Appeals for $2.8 Billion to Help 3 Million Palestinians

FILE - Palestinians line up for a meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)
FILE - Palestinians line up for a meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)
TT

UN Appeals for $2.8 Billion to Help 3 Million Palestinians

FILE - Palestinians line up for a meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)
FILE - Palestinians line up for a meal in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair, File)

The United Nations appealed for $2.8 billion on Tuesday to provide desperately needed aid to 3 million Palestinians, stressing that tackling looming famine in war-torn Gaza requires not only food but sanitation, water and health facilities.

Andrea De Domenico, the head of the UN humanitarian office for Gaza and the West Bank, told reporters that “massive operations” are required to restore those services and meet minimum standards — and this can’t be done during military operations.

He pointed to the destruction of hospitals, water and sanitation facilities, homes, roads and schools, adding that “there is not a single university that is standing in Gaza.”

According to The Associated Press, De Domenico said Israel's recently-ended second major military operation at Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest medical facility, was so destructive the facility has been forced to shut down. As an example, he questioned what the military objective was in shooting an MRI scanner that examines parts of the body and can detect cancers.

He said his team has been dealing with “a scene of terror” at the hospital, with UN and Palestinian colleagues helping people try to recognize family members from shoes or clothes on “the remnants of corpses.”

The Israeli offensive in Gaza aimed at destroying Hamas has caused widespread devastation and killed over 33,800 people, according to local health officials.

De Domenico said there are signs of Israel’s “good intention” to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza, citing the opening of a crossing to the north, which faces the most serious threat of famine, and the opening of bakeries there.

But the UN keeps pushing Israel to do more, he said.

De Domenico pointed to Israeli denials and delays on UN requests for aid convoys to enter Gaza.

He said 41% of UN requests that required going through Israeli checkpoints were denied during the week from April 6-12, and last week a convoy from the UN children’s agency UNICEF and the UN World Food Program was caught in crossfire in an area that was supposed to be safe.

De Domenico said convoys often spend hours at checkpoints and are only cleared in the afternoon, too late to make deliveries and return safely in daylight hours. He said the Israelis know this is how the UN operates, and delays allow them to say “we’re not blindly denying you” while controlling what happens.

“We continue to engage with them and our objective is really to solve the issue and deliver aid,” he said.



Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
TT

Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)

Yemen's Houthis will continue their military operations and escalate them "in quality and quantity" in support of Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, the Iran-backed group's leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a televised speech on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The group have been attacking ships in the Red Sea region since November, forcing shippers to re-route cargo to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

The group later expanded the scope of its attacks to the Indian Ocean and said it would also target any ships heading towards Israeli ports in the Mediterranean Sea.