UN blames security collapse as aid deliveries to Gaza dry up

The flow of aid entering Gaza from Egypt has almost dried up in the past two weeks, and a collapse in security has made it increasingly difficult to distribute the food that does get through, according to UN data and officials.

Daily figures show a precipitous drop in aid supplies since February 9 reaching Gaza, where the mostly displaced population of 2.3 million is facing crisis levels of hunger.

Before the conflict, Gaza relied on 500 trucks with supplies entering daily, and even during intense fighting in January around 200 aid trucks made it through on most days.

But according to the UN figures, on Feb. 9-20 the daily average fell to just 57 trucks. On seven of those 12 days, 20 or fewer trucks made it through, including just four trucks on February 17.

Deliveries through the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and Gaza have been almost totally halted. While more trucks have occasionally arrived through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing, they have frequently been disrupted by Israeli protesters seeking to block deliveries. The crossing was closed on Feb. 8-10 and Feb. 15-17.

Israel, which checks all trucks entering Gaza from both crossings, blames the United Nations for the fall-off in deliveries, and says it is prepared to speed up the clearance of aid.

The United Nations says it is becoming more difficult to distribute aid inside Gaza because of the collapse of security inside the Strip, where most residents are now hemmed into makeshift camps.

Palestinian police have stopped providing escorts for aid convoys after at least eight policemen were killed in Israeli strikes, says UNRWA director of Communications Juliette Touma.

(Source: REUTERS)