The first convoy of humanitarian aid sent to the besieged Gaza Strip since the war broke out began to pass through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt this Saturday, after days of diplomatic disputes over the conditions for the delivery of help
The United Nations reported that the convoy of 20 trucks included essential supplies to be received by the Palestinian Red Crescent. The Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the strip, said the delivery included medicine and a limited amount of food.
The humanitarian bridge was closed after the first convoy passed, the local press reported.
Rafah is the main route into and out of the Gaza Strip that is not controlled by Israel, and is the center of efforts to deliver aid to its 2.3 million residents.
United Nations (UN) officials say at least 100 trucks a day are needed to meet the urgent needs of this area of the Palestinian enclave, and that any aid delivery must be sustainable and measurable. Before the outbreak of the conflict, an average of 450 aid trucks arrived there every day.
“The humanitarian situation in Gaza, already precarious, has reached disaster levels,” UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said in a statement.
Israel imposed a complete blockade and launched airstrikes on Gaza in response to a deadly attack by Hamas on Israeli soil on October 7. The Rafah border crossing has been closed since shortly after, and the bombings in Gaza have damaged roads and buildings that need to be repaired.
The UN has warned that food is running out in Gaza and fuel supplies needed to keep hospital backups running have reached dangerously low levels.
Israel says it will not allow aid into its territory until Hamas releases the hostages it took during its attack, and that aid can enter Egypt as long as it does not end up in Hamas hands.