With the humanitarian system in Gaza on the verge of “total collapse”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday again appealed for greater aid access to the besieged enclave, where “misery is growing by the minute.” 

Air strikes have devastated much of the north of Gaza. © UNRWA/Mohammed Hinnawi
Air strikes have devastated much of the north of Gaza. © UNRWA/Mohammed Hinnawi

“Life-saving humanitarian aid – food, water, medicine, fuel – must be allowed to reach all civilians swiftly, safely and at scale,” he said in a statement.

He noted that about 500 trucks per day were crossing into Gaza before the hostilities began, compared to the recent average of 12 trucks per day “despite needs being far greater than at any time before.”

Fuel supply crucial

However, the supplies that have trickled in do not include fuel for UN operations – essential to power hospitals, water desalination plants, food production and aid distribution.

“Given the desperate and dramatic situation, the United Nations will not be able to continue to deliver inside Gaza without an immediate and fundamental shift in how aid is going in,” he warned.

Mr. Guterres called for the verification system for the movement of goods through the Rafah crossing from Egypt to be adjusted to allow many more trucks in without delay.

“We must meet the expectations and core needs of civilians in Gaza,” he said.

‘A moment of truth’

The Secretary-General has welcomed the growing global consensus for a humanitarian pause in the conflict. 

“I repeat my call for a humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages, and the delivery of lifesaving supplies at the scale needed,” he said.

He warned that without a fundamental change, the people of Gaza will face an unprecedented avalanche of human suffering

“Everyone must assume their responsibilities.  This is a moment of truth.  History is judging us all.”