|Translate This News In|
UN Mourns Loss of Over 100 Aid Workers in Gaza – Deadliest Conflict Toll in History!
GAZA/JERUSALEM In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the United Nations reports that more aid workers have been killed in Gaza than in any previous single conflict in the organization’s 78-year history. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) disclosed that 102 of its aid workers have lost their lives, with 27 others sustaining injuries since the commencement of hostilities over a month ago. The most recent casualty, as reported in the last 24 hours, involved a UNRWA staff member and her family in the north of the Gaza Strip due to strikes.
This surge in casualties is linked to the escalation of hostilities following the October 7 terror attacks by Hamas, resulting in at least 1,200 deaths in Israel and over 200 hostages. Israel contends that its military operations aim to eradicate Hamas, which it alleges has embedded itself within Gaza’s civilian infrastructure.
UNRWA emphasized that the aid workers who perished were part of its 13,000-strong staff in Gaza, many of whom lost their lives alongside their families during Israel’s bombardment and blockade following the October 7 attack. The victims included teachers, school principals, health workers, engineers, support staff, and a psychologist.
As a response to the tragic loss of UN aid workers, UN offices worldwide lowered their flags to half-mast, and UN staff observed a moment of silence to mourn and honor their fallen colleagues. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed that these individuals “will never be forgotten.”
The conflict has taken a toll on Gaza’s population, exacerbating its already dire conditions. With more than 2 million people crammed into 140 square miles, Gaza has been one of the world’s poorest places, facing a blockade for the last 17 years. The current siege and bombardment have deepened the humanitarian crisis, causing a near-total collapse of the healthcare system and widespread destruction of neighborhoods.
UNRWA, the main UN agency operating in Gaza, is facing challenges in delivering aid due to the blockade on fuel, food, water, and medicine. The agency warned that it may have to halt essential services, including desalination plants and waste removal, due to a lack of fuel.
The conflict has also led to damages to UNRWA facilities, with more than 60 facilities, mostly schools sheltering civilians, suffering collateral or direct damage. Despite international law protections, aid organizations, NGOs, journalists, and medics have also faced risks, with at least 42 media workers reported killed since the start of the war.
In a recent development, the Israeli military acknowledged carrying out a strike adjacent to a UN building, leading to damage. UNRWA expressed concern that no area in Gaza appears safe, highlighting the disregard for the protection of civilian infrastructure, including UN facilities.
UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini emphasized the daily struggles of its staff, who share living conditions with the local population, facing challenges in accessing basic necessities like bread and water. Despite the losses within the organization, the commitment to providing support to the people in Gaza remains steadfast, Lazzarini stated.
Palestine Red Crescent Staff Trapped in Al-Quds Hospital Amid Escalating Crisis!
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) is uncertain about the well-being of its staff who are currently “trapped” inside Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, according to a spokesperson for the organization in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.
Nebal Farsakh, the PRCS spokesperson, expressed uncertainty about the safety of their team, stating, “When I’m talking to you now, I’m not sure if they still are alive or not.” The organization, based in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, has faced difficulties in reaching its teams inside the hospital for over six days. Communication has been limited to high-frequency radio waves, described as “unstable” and prone to “constant distortion.”
Farsakh explained the challenges, mentioning the complete destruction of internet and communication lines, making direct contact impossible. The approximately 300 patients in the hospital, along with PRCS medical staff, are reportedly unable to leave, with all surrounding roads closed. They are described as “trapped,” experiencing continuous bombardment and shooting in the area.
Attempts were made on Monday by a PRCS convoy from southern Gaza to reach Al-Quds Hospital for staff and patient evacuation. Farsakh claimed that despite being initially allowed to travel by the Israeli military after a vehicle search, the convoy was later informed that it couldn’t proceed due to an ongoing “military operation” in the area.
Regarding the Israeli military’s statement on Monday that it had killed a group of Hamas fighters “embedded” among civilians at the hospital after being fired upon, the PRCS disputed these claims, asserting, “There are no armed individuals inside the hospital, and no shots were fired from inside.”
UN Reveals Sole Operational Hospital in Northern Gaza – Humanitarian Crisis Deepens!
In northern Gaza, only one hospital is operational, according to the United Nations, due to Israeli strikes targeting medical facilities and the surrounding areas. Most hospitals in Gaza City and northern Gaza are reportedly out of service as of November 13, facing challenges such as power shortages, lack of medical supplies, oxygen, food, and water, compounded by ongoing bombardments and fighting in their proximity.
Out of approximately 30 hospitals and clinics in northern Gaza, only one is able to receive patients. Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City is currently accommodating at least 500 patients seeking shelter. US President Joe Biden has expressed concern about the situation, emphasizing the need to protect hospitals and patients amid Israeli claims that Hamas is using them for coordination.
Biden stated, “It’s my hope and expectation that there will be less intrusive action relative to the hospitals,” noting ongoing efforts to negotiate a pause for dealing with the release of prisoners. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also emphasized the importance of protecting hospitals and patients, expressing a shared view with the Israeli Government on avoiding conflicts in healthcare facilities.
The context includes Israel’s claims of a Hamas command center beneath Al-Shifa hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, which Hamas and hospital officials deny. The Israeli military has accused Hamas of embedding itself in civilian infrastructure in the past. Israeli authorities asserted they called for the evacuation of northern hospitals before the offensive, but health workers at Al-Shifa refused, citing the inability to leave patients behind, including those at risk of death. CNN cannot independently verify the claims made by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Al-Shifa Hospital Overwhelmed, Staff Burying 150 Bodies as Death Toll Mounts!
Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza has tragically transformed into a grim repository for the sick and wounded, resembling a cemetery, according to its director speaking to NBC News today. Amidst ongoing fighting in the vicinity, those trapped within the hospital are grappling with the dual challenge of caring for the living and attempting to bury the deceased, as detailed by Dr. Midhat Abbas.
He explained that anyone moving within or around the hospital is at risk of gunfire. Due to the perilous conditions, the hospital staff has been compelled to bury the deceased within the hospital premises as their bodies decomposed, and there was no permission to transport them elsewhere. The limited size of the graves poses a significant challenge as it cannot accommodate all the fallen.
Dr. Abbas expressed genuine concerns about the potential loss of lives, particularly among children and the wounded, who remain trapped inside the hospital. The situation has created an alarming and distressing environment for both patients and medical personnel.
In a related update, the Gaza Health Ministry reported that Al-Shifa hospital staff are currently engaged in burying around 150 bodies in a mass grave within the hospital complex. This daunting task unfolds amidst ongoing gunfire and bombings around the hospital buildings.
Dr. Marwan Al-Barsh, the director general of the ministry, emphasized the repeated warnings against hospitals turning into mass graves and morgues. The spokesperson for the ministry conveyed that the continuous bombardment has hindered the hospital’s ability to provide proper care for the wounded, and the death toll is expected to rise. The hazardous conditions, with shells still falling on Al-Shifa Medical Complex, have rendered the situation dire, and no ambulances have been able to reach the complex since Friday.