Hamas news and more
More than 263,000 people have been displaced in Gaza during ongoing Israeli air strikes, and the number is expected to continue to rise, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported early Wednesday.
This number represents more than one in 10 residents of the densely populated Strip.
OCHA said in its update that among the displaced, at least 175,486 people are seeking shelter in schools of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), while about 3,000 people remain displaced due to previous escalations.
This represents the largest number of internally displaced Palestinians since the 50-day escalation of hostilities in 2014, OCHA said.
“This increases the workload on humanitarian organizations to meet the basic needs of displaced people for shelter, bedding, food, water and sanitation facilities,” the UN agency said.
OCHA said Israeli airstrikes targeted communications facilities, destroying two of the three main mobile communications lines, and disrupting mobile phone and internet service.
Basic needs such as access to water have also become a challenge due to damage and reduced power supplies to sanitation infrastructure, OCHA said. He added that in Beit Lahia and the northern regions, sewage and solid waste accumulated in the streets due to damage to sewer lines and infrastructure.
The Gaza government, controlled by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), said on Wednesday that electricity would “be completely cut off within hours,” limiting the ability to provide basic services.
Context: The humanitarian crisis is rapidly unfolding in Gaza as besieged residents, many without food or electricity, face a fifth day of Israeli air strikes in response to a deadly Hamas attack on Israel.
More than half of its two million people live in poverty and suffer from food insecurity, and nearly 80% of them depend on humanitarian aid.
On Monday, the UN Secretary-General called on Hamas to stop its attacks on Israel and release the hostages, urging all parties to allow the UN access to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians trapped in Gaza.