Guterres voiced grave concern over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the situation in Gaza as a nightmare and a crisis of humanity.
“The nightmare in Gaza is more than a humanitarian crisis. It is a crisis of humanity”, said Guterres at a press conference on the Middle East.
“The intensifying conflict is shaking the world, rattling the region and, most tragically, destroying so many innocent lives”, said Guterres
The UN official condemned the ground operations by the Israeli occupation forces and the continued bombardment targeting civilians, hospitals, refugee camps, mosques, churches and UN facilities – including shelters.
“No one is safe”, said the UN chief. “The protection of civilians must be paramount. I am deeply concerned about clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing.”
“Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children. Hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day. More journalists have reportedly been killed over a four-week period than in any conflict in at least three decades. More United Nations aid workers have been killed than in any comparable period in the history of our organization.”
“The unfolding catastrophe makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour. The parties to the conflict -- and, indeed, the international community -- face an immediate and fundamental responsibility: to stop the inhuman collective suffering and dramatically expand humanitarian aid to Gaza.”
“Today, the United Nations and our partners are launching a $1.2 billion humanitarian appeal to help 2.7 million people – that’s the entire population of the Gaza Strip and half a million Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
Guterres further warned of the acute shortage in fuel, saying without fuel, newborn babies in incubators and patients on life support will die.
“Raw sewage could soon start gushing onto the streets, further spreading disease”, he added. “A humanitarian ceasefire. Now. All parties should be respecting all their obligations under international humanitarian law. Now; The protection of civilians, hospitals, UN facilities, shelters and schools. Now; More food, more water, more medicine and of course fuel – entering Gaza safely, swiftly and at the scale needed. Now. Unfettered access to deliver supplies to all people in need in Gaza. Now.”
Guterres expressed grave concern about rising violence and an expansion of the conflict in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem: “Let us also not forget the importance of addressing the risks of the conflict spilling over to the wider region.”
“I think of civilians in Gaza – the vast majority women and children -- terrified by the relentless bombardment. I join the UN family in mourning 89 of our UNRWA colleagues who have been killed in Gaza – many of them together with members of their family. They include teachers, school principals, doctors, engineers, guards, support staff and a young woman named Mai”, added Guterres.