UN estimates 9 out of 10 people in Gaza displaced at least once

UN estimates 9 out of 10 people in Gaza displaced at least once

UN, partners had to reset aid operations following Israel's evacuation order in Khan Younis, says official

By Merve Aydogan

HAMILTON, Canada (AA) - The UN on Wednesday said it estimates at least nine out of 10 people in the Gaza Strip have been displaced at least once since Oct. 7.

"We are again at the crossroads where the UN and its partners has to reset their operations," Andrea De Domenico, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian Territory, said at a virtual news conference.

He noted that Israel's recent evacuation order in Khan Younis has affected a third of the enclave, further exacerbating the crisis.

"At the moment, we estimated that nine of every 10 people in the Gaza Strip have been internally displaced at least once, if not up to 10 times, unfortunately, since October," De Domenico reported.

Emphasizing the constant movement, he said: "People in the last nine months have been moved around like pawns in a board game, forced from one location to the next location."

De Domenico said residents have to rebuild extremely difficult living conditions each time, leading to more suffering and a greater need for humanitarian aid.

Stressing that the UN will continue to stay in the region, he highlighted that aid distribution is challenging every day.

Citing the Palestinian Authority's Bureau of Statistics, De Domenico said Gaza's population is 2.3 million and he estimated that 110,000 have left Gaza, and 37,000 have been killed.

Noting that behind the numbers are people with grievances, fears and hopes, he stated that his agency based its humanitarian aid distribution plan on 2.1 million people in Gaza, all of whom need aid.

The UN official reported that Israeli officials claimed they did not intend to evacuate hospitals in the recent "evacuation" call, adding that Israel did not share information on the evacuation order in time.

"People have the memories of what has happened at Al-Shifa, Nasser, and other hospitals are still fresh in people's minds, where doctors, patients and nurses were arrested, interrogated. Some of them then were found days after in mass graves. So, fear is dominant," he said.

Saying that the European Hospital in Khan Younis was also evacuated, De Domenico noted that it was one of the last essential service-providing hospitals in the region but is now "gone."

De Domenico said OCHA has seen Israel's attacks continue in so-called "safe zones" and reported that 247 of his colleagues have been killed.

He said that many of his colleagues were killed while on duty, and some were killed at home with their families.

"We really need to draw a line of enough," he said.

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