Gaza in Crisis: The Humanitarian Strain Intensifies

Conditions in Gaza are reaching a critical point as the area teeters on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster.

by Faruk Imamovic
Gaza in Crisis: The Humanitarian Strain Intensifies
© Getty Images News/Mahmoud Khaled

Conditions in Gaza are reaching a critical point as the area teeters on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster.

Hostages and Numbers

Israel's military has shed light on the ongoing hostage situation in Gaza. According to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the majority of the hostages are alive.

Initial reports at the onset of the war indicated that nearly 3,000 people had gone missing. However, the IDF has since clarified these figures, stating that the number of missing persons had reduced to between 100 and 200 by Friday.

Disturbingly, more than 20 of these hostages are children under the age of 18, while between 10 to 20 are senior citizens aged 60 and above, based on the most recent update from the IDF.

Aid Stalled at the Rafah Crossing

The Rafah crossing, a pivotal point for aid destined for Gaza, is currently under scrutiny.

With approximately 200 trucks loaded with essential supplies stalled outside the closed border, tensions are mounting. Efforts are underway to open the gates and allow the aid to flow into the enclave. Reports indicate that as of Thursday, negotiations were still ongoing while repair crews were hard at work fixing roads to facilitate the passage of at least 20 trucks in a preliminary delivery.

Although US President Joe Biden had earlier projected that the crossing would open by Friday, updated information from US officials now anticipates the first convoy's passage over the weekend.

A Rising Death Toll

The human cost of the conflict is becoming painfully evident.

Since October 7, the Gaza Strip has seen a staggering 4,127 fatalities, of which 1,661 were children. Ashraf Al-Qidra, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, disclosed these figures and added that an additional 13,162 individuals had suffered injuries.

The occupied West Bank has also experienced casualties, with 81 Palestinian deaths reported since the same date.

Biden's Aid Appeal

US President Joe Biden is calling upon the American public for their support. In the backdrop of Israel's conflict with Hamas and the ongoing situation in Ukraine, Biden's administration is seeking a substantial $105 billion in funding from Congress.

A significant portion of this proposed aid package, amounting to $14 billion, is earmarked for Israel. This request is said to be based on discussions Biden had during his recent visit to the region. In these tumultuous times, the international community watches closely, hoping for resolutions that will bring peace and much-needed aid to those suffering in the midst of this crisis.