Dozens of Palestinians were killed and at least four shelters run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) were damaged in the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours alone, said the Agency’s Commissioner-General on Thursday.
“Today, a school-turned shelter was damaged at the Jabalia Refugee Camp, the largest in the Gaza Strip, reportedly killing at least 20 people and injuring five”, said Philippe Lazzarini. “This comes after two days of heavy bombardments in the area.”
Earlier today, another shelter at Beach Refugee Camp was also damaged, with one child reportedly killed. Both locations are in the north of the Gaza Strip.
Further south, two schools-turned-shelters in the Al Bureij Refugee Camp were hit. Two people were reportedly killed and 31 injured.
According to the most recent UNRWA estimates, these shelters hosted nearly 20,000 combined.
Since October 7, nearly 50 UNRWA buildings and assets have been impacted, with some being directly hit. Like today’s, this includes UNRWA buildings used as shelters where UNRWA is currently hosting around 700,000 Palestinian refugees and displaced families. Twenty-five of these shelters are in northern Gaza, hosting 112,000 people.
“Across the Gaza Strip, these shelters should be a safe haven, under the flag of the United Nations. International humanitarian law leaves no doubt that civilians and civilian facilities must be protected”, said Lazzarini.
“To date, 72 UNRWA colleagues have been killed in Gaza since the war began, often with their families. Overnight, we lost Mai, a bright software developer in her mid-20s with physical disabilities. She was displaced from her home and killed in the Jabalia Refugee Camp with members of her family”, he confirmed.
“How many more? How much more grief and suffering? A humanitarian ceasefire is overdue for the sake of humanity”, concluded Lazzarini.