The UN’s Palestinian refugee agency warned yesterday its operations in war-torn Gaza would shut down within two days due to fuel shortages as fighting rages between Israel and Hamas.
“The humanitarian operation in Gaza will grind to a halt in the next 48 hours as no fuel is allowed to enter Gaza,” UNRWA’s Gaza chief Thomas White wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“No fuel has entered Gaza since October 7,” he wrote, referring to the date when Hamas militants stormed across the border and killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians and kidnapped some 240 others.
Israel hit back with a fierce bombing campaign that has killed more than 11,200 people, mostly civilians, and cut off supplies of water, electricity, fuel and food to the territory of 2.4 million people, creating chronic shortages.
Aid agencies have repeatedly raised the alarm about the lack of fuel — used to power vital services such as hospitals which rely on generators, and for purifying and pumping drinking water.
Speaking to reporters, White said negotiations to refill fuel reservoirs “have stalled” and were waiting for a decision from “the highest levels of the Israeli government”.
White said trucking contractors transporting drinking water and other supplies from the Rafah border crossing with Egypt were now running on empty.
“In the next 48 hours, it just comes to a halt, there’s nothing that we can do,” he added.
“That’s the reality of an aid operation that’s being strangled of resources to serve people in need.”
Shortages of drinking water, combined with a lack of fuel to run sewage pumping stations and the steady shutdown of hospital generators raised the risk of cholera, he said.
According to COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry body that handles Palestinian civil affairs, no fuel has entered the Gaza Strip since “before the war”.
Earlier on Monday, the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said all hospitals in northern Gaza had stopped functioning due to a combination of fuel shortages and the ongoing fighting.
At Al-Shifa hospital — the largest in Gaza — the death toll since the centre ran out of fuel on Saturday rose to 34, with the deaths of 27 intensive care patients and seven babies, the ministry said. — AFP