First fuel since start of war delivered to UN in Gaza

First fuel since start of war delivered to UN in Gaza
First fuel since start of war delivered to UN in Gaza

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The first truck carrying fuel into Gaza since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas crossed from Egypt on Wednesday to deliver diesel to the United Nations, though it will do little to alleviate shortages that have hampered relief efforts. — AFP pic

ISMAILIA (Egypt), Nov 16 — The first truck carrying fuel into Gaza since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas crossed from Egypt on Wednesday to deliver diesel to the United Nations, though it will do little to alleviate shortages that have hampered relief efforts.

The delivery was made possible by Israel giving its approval for 24,000 litres of diesel fuel for UN aid distribution trucks and not for use at hospitals, a humanitarian source said.

“This is only 9 per cent of what we need daily to sustain lifesaving activities,” Tom White, director of UN relief agency UNRWA in Gaza, posted on social media platform X. He confirmed that just over 23,000 litres, or half a tanker, had been received.

“Our entire operation is now on the verge of collapse,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. “It is appalling that fuel continues to be used as a weapon of war.”

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Aid workers say a lack of fuel, which is needed for hospital generators, provision of water, sewage treatment and communications as well as relief distribution, has contributed to deteriorating conditions for Gaza’s 2.3 million residents.

Deliveries of aid have been crossing from Egypt into Gaza since October 21, but Israel had refused to allow in fuel, saying it could be used by Hamas to fuel its fight against Israel.

The United Nations had warned in recent days that it would soon have to halt humanitarian operations as fuel stocks became fully depleted. It said fuel shortages threatened to shut down telecoms data centres and connection points within 48 hours.

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Limited numbers of Palestinians have been brought to Egypt for medical treatment, with 135 evacuated between November 2-13.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Wednesday said 27 cancer patients and their 13 companions flew to Turkey for treatment, the first to be taken from Gaza to Egypt and then transferred to another country since fighting began.

He said efforts were under way to bring wounded civilians, babies and more of nearly 1,000 Gaza cancer patients to Turkey.

Egypt has readied 35 ambulances with mobile incubators after three premature babies at Gaza’s besieged Al Shifa hospital died when their incubators lost power, officials said.

On Tuesday, 91 trucks carrying food, medicine, bottled water, blankets and tents entered Gaza from Egypt’s Rafah crossing, but the UN says deliveries since October 21 — 1,187 trucks in total — can only meet a fraction of needs.

Distribution of the aid had largely come to a halt for lack of fuel, it said.

It has called on Israel to open its Kerem Shalom crossing to allow in larger quantities of aid.

After the first truck carrying fuel set off for Gaza on Wednesday, witnesses said two other trucks were lined up on the Egyptian side, but it was unclear when they might enter. — Reuters

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