Updated January 8th, 2024 at 17:01 IST
WHO cancels medical supplies to north Gaza citing ‘unsafe’ conditions amid Blinken's visit
WHO committed to send medical supplies to the enclave on Sunday, but failed to secure the guarantees.
Citing the “unsafe conditions” in the besieged strip of Gaza that has been obstructing the humanitarian assistance to the civilians, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday said it is compelled to cancel a mission.
WHO committed to send medical supplies to the enclave on Sunday, but failed to secure the guarantees. The medical supplies were bound for the Al-Awda Hospital in the enclave and the central drug store in northern Gaza that the global medical agency has been trying to deliver since Dec. 26.
‘12 days since we were last able to reach northern Gaza’: WHO
This would be the fourth time that the WHO had to cancel the planned mission to deliver the necessary medical aid to the Gazans who are under heavy bombardment as Israeli forces have been waging battles to eliminate the Hamas. "It has now been 12 days since we were last able to reach northern Gaza," the WHO office wrote on the X social media platform. The medical supplies would have replenished at least five hospitals in the north of the enclave.
"Heavy bombardment, movement restrictions, and interrupted communications are making it nearly impossible to deliver medical supplies regularly and safely across Gaza, particularly in the north,” WHO wrote on social media. Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took his official handle on X to say that the further delays [of medical help] “will lead to more death and suffering for far too many people.”
In a separate update the International Rescue Committee aid group said that its medical staff and the Medical Aid for Palestinians charity have been forced to halt all its activities at the Al Aqsa Hospital. The group cited the heavy bombardments in the region as a reason to drawdown from the areas.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the Middle East amid fears of the Israel Hamas war spiralling into a broader regional conflict. Blinken proposed urgent mechanisms to stem violence, calm rhetoric, and reduce regional tensions, including deterring Houthi attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and avoiding escalation in Lebanon.
US reaffirmed its commitment to working with partners to set the conditions necessary for peace in the Middle East. In order to deter further escalation, Blinken tabled comprehensive, tangible steps toward the realization of a future Palestinian state alongside the State of Israel, with both living in peace and security.
During his Middle East tour, European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said, “It is absolutely necessary to avoid Lebanon being dragged into a regional conflict.” Hezbollah launched 62 rockets toward an Israeli air surveillance base on Mount Meron. It noted that these strikes were direct response to Arouri's killing. Two Israeli army posts were struck near the border. As many as 40 rockets were fired toward Meron and that a base was targeted, Israel said. The army’s chief spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said no casualties were caused.
Published January 8th, 2024 at 17:01 IST