Thousands break in to UNRWA aid stores Gaza

 Thousands of people have broken into United Nations warehouses and distribution centers in Gaza storing humanitarian aid supplies, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees said Sunday.

Wheat flour and other “survival” items such as hygiene kits were taken, a UNRWA statement said.

“This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza,” UNRWA Gaza Affairs Director Thomas White said.

“People are scared, frustrated and desperate. Tensions and fear are made worse by the cuts in the phones and internet communication lines. They feel that they are on their own, cut off from their families inside Gaza and the rest of the world.”

UNRWA stressed that the massive displacement of people from the north to the south of the Strip has put “enormous pressure” on southern communities, adding further strain on already deteriorating public services.

According to agency data, some 80 trucks of humanitarian aid have so far entered the Gaza Strip in the past week through the Rafah crossing, bordering Egypt. Hundreds of aid trucks entered daily before the conflict escalated this month.

UNRWA is currently managing the reception and storage aid supplies from Egypt in the Palestinian enclave.

The agency said Saturday no convoys were able to enter due to the telecommunications outage that began the day before.

Those connections were gradually being restored Sunday, Palestinian telecoms firm Jawwal said in a statement.

On Friday, operator Paltel announced a “complete cut” of services in Gaza due to heavy shelling on the Strip, which had “damaged the international lines” to the enclave.

The outage coincided with the Israeli army’s announcement earlier on Friday that it was expanding its ground operations in the Gaza Strip and intensifying the shelling it had been carrying out since Oct. 7.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said Sunday in a statement that its teams in Gaza have informed it that internet services and other connections have been restored.

Israel and Hamas have been locked in a war since Oct. 7, after the Palestinian Islamist group attacked Israeli territory and left 1,400 dead, some 5,000 wounded and took 230 hostages.

In retaliation, Israel has been shelling Gaza daily, and launched a ground operation on Friday.

Some 7,700 Palestinians have died and nearly 19,000 have been wounded in the past three weeks. EFE

By Usman Waheed