UN warns against unilateral Gaza ‘safe zones’; cites hunger risks

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a UN General Assembly informal plenary meeting on that the WHO would not take part in any unilateral proposals to create “safe zones” in the Gaza Strip.

Such measures would risk causing harm to civilians, including large-scale loss of life, under current conditions in the enclave, he said.

Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke of dire consequences in cramming people into an area with inadequate infrastructure such as Al-Mawasi, on the southern Gaza Strip.

The President of the General Assembly, Dennis Francis, echoed the urgency for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, emphasizing the immediate need for unimpeded humanitarian access.

The gravity of the situation was further highlighted by Paul Skoczylas, the Director of the New York Office of the World Food Programme, who revealed alarming statistics. He indicated the majority of Gaza’s population is now reliant on food assistance, with reports suggesting people surviving on only one meal a day.

”Information gathered from the people we serve indicate that people are surviving on one meal a day. If they are lucky. Assessments indicate now that almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip now needs food assistance,” Skoczylas said.

Riyad H. Mansour, the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, urged the international community to heed the calls for an immediate ceasefire.

”How many more Palestinian children do you want to see being killed and women and civilians and sick and wounded before you come to the conclusion of implementing what you are listening to them from all the agencies who are working in the humanitarian field,” Mansour said.

Meanwhile, Israel said they hoped to neutralize Hamas’s threat and ensure the safety of its citizens, calling for support until their goals are met.

The UK’s Ambassador to the UN, Barbara Woodward, stressed the importance of both sides adhering to humanitarian law to minimize harm to civilians as did US Ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.