UN food agency suspends aid to north Gaza after gunfire, looting

UN food agency suspends aid to north Gaza after gunfire, looting
UN food agency suspends aid to north Gaza after gunfire, looting

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The UN’s food agency said today it has suspended aid deliveries to northern Gaza despite widespread hunger, after a convoy of trucks faced gunfire and looting. — Reuters pic

ROME, Feb 20 — The UN’s food agency said today it has suspended aid deliveries to northern Gaza despite widespread hunger, after a convoy of trucks faced gunfire and looting.

The World Food Programme (WFP) resumed deliveries on Sunday after a three-week halt but its convoy “faced complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order”, it said.

Twenty weeks into Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, UN agencies have warned that food and safe water are very scarce and WFP said its teams had reported “unprecedented levels of desperation”.

The Rome-based agency said it had planned to send trucks of food each day for seven days.

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But on Sunday the convoy had to fend off “multiple attempts by people trying to climb aboard our trucks, then facing gunfire once we entered Gaza City”, it said.

“On Monday, the second convoy’s journey north faced complete chaos and violence due to the collapse of civil order.

“Several trucks were looted... and a truck driver was beaten. The remaining flour was spontaneously distributed off the trucks in Gaza City, amidst high tension and explosive anger,” it added.

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WFP said it was forced to pause the deliveries “until conditions are in place that allow for safe distributions”.

It added that it was not a decision taken lightly because it “means the situation there will deteriorate further and more people risk dying of hunger”.

Since the start of the war, Gaza has been plunged into a food crisis, with outside aid severely restricted.

The war started after Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed more than 29,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry. — AFP

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