The Rafah border crossing, connecting Egypt and Gaza, has been opened to permit a limited amount of crucial aid to reach Palestinians who are facing severe shortages of food, medicine, and water due to the Israeli siege.
According to a statement from the Palestinian group Hamas, a convoy of 20 aid trucks entered the Gaza Strip from Egypt on Saturday, carrying essential supplies like medicine and food.
Preceding this, over 200 trucks, loaded with approximately 3,000 tonnes of essential aid, had been stationed near the Rafah crossing, ready to enter Gaza.
Hamas’ media office had previously stated, “The relief aid convoy that is supposed to enter today includes 20 trucks that carry medicine, medical supplies, and a limited amount of food supplies [canned goods].”
Martin Griffiths, the UN’s emergency relief coordinator, welcomed this aid delivery, recognizing it as the outcome of intensive negotiations with all relevant parties to ensure the resumption of aid operations into Gaza under appropriate conditions. Griffiths expressed confidence that this delivery marked the beginning of a sustainable effort to provide essential supplies, such as food, water, medicine, and fuel, to the people of Gaza in a safe, dependable, unconditional, and unimpeded manner.
However, Israel emphasized that the aid shipments arriving in Gaza from Egypt would not include fuel. The absence of fuel is a significant concern for Gaza’s population and the relief agencies, as it is required to operate water supply systems and generators crucial for running essential facilities, including hospitals.
Fuel shortages have already led to the shutdown of Gaza’s last operational seawater desalination plant, impacting the access to clean water. Multiple hospitals are either entirely non-operational or running on severely limited fuel supplies, jeopardizing the lives of patients, including newborns in incubators and those with critical medical conditions.
Juliette Touma, the communications director at UNRWA, stressed the absolute importance of fuel, stating that it is required for delivering assistance to the people of Gaza. Fuel remains a critical factor in maintaining vital services in the region.