Mon, 4 December 2023 | 6:59 pm

Guterres: ‘Unfolding catastrophe’ makes humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza more urgent

As the conflict intensifies in Gaza, with risk of spillover to the wider region, UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday underlined the need to support a $1.2 billion humanitarian appeal to help nearly three million people across the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

“The nightmare in Gaza is more than a humanitarian crisis. It is a crisis of humanity,” he said, speaking to journalists at UN Headquarters in New York.

Guterres highlighted how “the unfolding catastrophe in Gaza makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour,” stressing that the protection of civilians is paramount.

“Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children. Hundreds of girls and boys are reportedly being killed or injured every day,” he said.

“More journalists have reportedly been killed over a four-week period than in any conflict in at least three decades. More United Nations aid workers have been killed than in any comparable period in the history of our organisation,” he said.

Over the past two weeks, 400 trucks have made the journey, compared with 500 a day prior to the conflict, and the aid deliveries have not included desperately needed fuel.

“Without fuel, newborn babies in incubators and patients on life support will die,” he warned. “Water cannot be pumped or purified. Raw sewage could soon start gushing onto the streets, further spreading disease. Trucks loaded with critical relief will be stranded.”

The Secretary-General said the way forward is clear, repeating his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and for all parties to respect international humanitarian law.

He reiterated his appeals for the unconditional release of all Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, and for the protection of civilians, hospitals, UN facilities, shelters and schools.

“More food, more water, more medicine and of course fuel – entering Gaza safely, swiftly and at the scale needed. Now. Unfettered access to deliver supplies to all people in need in Gaza. Now. And the end of the use of civilians as human shields. Now,” he said.

Addressing the wider impacts of the conflict, Guterres pointed to the “spiral of escalation from Lebanon and Syria, to Iraq and Yemen”. Calling for an end, he said “cool heads and diplomatic efforts must prevail.”

Hateful rhetoric and provocative actions must also cease, he continued. Guterres said he was deeply troubled by the rise in antisemitism and anti-Muslim bigotry, noting that both Jewish and Muslim communities in many parts of the world are on high alert, fearing for their personal safety and security.

With emotions at a fever pitch and tensions running high, “we must find a way to hold on to our common humanity,” he said.

Related Posts

Discussion about this post

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Create New Account!

Fill the forms below to register

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.