The Israel-Hamas conflict has taken a devastating toll on humanitarian workers in the Gaza Strip, with eleven employees of the UN Palestinian refugee agency losing their lives in Israeli air strikes since Saturday. Additionally, five members of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have also been killed in the ongoing violence.
UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) confirmed the tragic loss of their colleagues in a statement. While the agency did not specify if the victims were Palestinian or foreign personnel, it noted that the casualties included five teachers at UNRWA schools, one gynecologist, one engineer, one psychological counselor, and three support staff. Heartbreakingly, some of them were killed in their homes with their families, deepening the sorrow among their colleagues and loved ones.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) separately reported the loss of five of its members during the conflict. Four paramedics from the Palestine Red Crescent were killed when their ambulances were targeted in two separate incidents on Wednesday. Tragically, on Saturday, an ambulance driver for Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency service, also lost his life while responding to the injured.
UNRWA is grappling with the humanitarian crisis caused by the conflict, reporting that nearly 175,500 internally displaced people are seeking refuge in 88 of its schools across Gaza. The numbers continue to rise as Israeli Air Forces carry out airstrikes, straining the resources and capabilities of these makeshift shelters. Some of these shelters are overcrowded and face limited availability of food, basic items, and clean water.
Established in 1949 following the first Arab-Israeli war, UNRWA plays a vital role in providing public services, including education, primary healthcare, and humanitarian aid, in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. The ongoing conflict has further exacerbated the crisis in the region, with two of UNRWA’s schools being affected by airstrikes, bringing the total number of impacted facilities to 20. As a result of the escalating violence, all schools operated by UNRWA across the Gaza Strip remain closed.
The international community continues to express concern and calls for an end to the violence, as the toll on both civilians and humanitarian workers mounts with each passing day.
Sources By Agencies