Follow on Google News
News By Tag
News By Place
Follow on Google News
UN warns that Gaza desperately needs more aid − why it is especially tough working in Gaza?
United Nations agencies pleaded for more aid to be allowed into Gaza, saying that more than 20 times the amount of food, water and medical supplies and other items that are currently reaching people is needed.
By: The Conversation
Egypt first opened its borders for aid deliveries into Gaza on Oct. 21, and since then, 54 trucks with medical supplies had entered Gaza as of Oct. 23, according to the U.N.
But the U.N. and other international aid groups are warning that the 2.3 million people living in Gaza remain in dire need of more clean water, food, fuel and medical care. The U.N.'s relief agency in Gaza, UNRWA, is also saying that without more fuel, it will have to stop its work on everything from providing medical care to setting up shelters for displaced people on Oct. 25.
Safely delivering aid in Gaza has unique complications – including the fact that the U.S. and the European Union classify Hamas as a terrorist group.
The Conversation spoke with Paul Spiegel, an expert on complex humanitarian emergencies at the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, to better understand the particular challenges this reality creates and how it affects delivering aid to civilians in Gaza.
What are the challenges with providing aid in conflict zones like Gaza?
Providing humanitarian assistance in any sudden emergency, like the one currently happening in Gaza, is complex – in terms of security, logistics and financing.
Often, there are simply not enough appropriate supplies available to quickly get into an acute emergency, which might be in a remote area or might be in a restricted area, as is the case with Gaza. There are often security issues that may affect an aid group's access to a population. And there is the risk that aid workers will be attacked, as has happened increasingly over the last several years.
Typically, a U.N. agency like the World Health Organization would try to get assurances from all groups that are part of a conflict, so that those providing assistance will not be targets of violence. These assurances do not always happen, and then the agencies need to decide if they deliver the aid or wait until they get a guarantee they won't be attacked.