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Unrawa confirms stay in Rafah in the face of risk of Israeli invasion

ONU-UNRWA
United Nations, May 6 (Prensa Latina) The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRAWA) confirmed today that it will maintain its operations in Rafah despite the growing risk of an Israeli military offensive in that area.

Considered the main humanitarian actor on the ground, the Agency dismissed its intention to move its staff after Israeli authorities ordered Monday the partial evacuation of the refugee population in that governorate.

Unrwa is not evacuating: the agency will maintain a presence in Rafah for as long as possible and will continue to provide rescue services and assistance to the people,’ said a press release issued by the agency.

According to press reports, the Tel Aviv defense forces dropped leaflets from airplanes and sent text messages by telephone for the population to leave several neighborhoods of that city.

The information ‘advised’ civilians to move to one of the so-called safe zones in Al Mawasi, west of Rafah, by the Mediterranean Sea.

The previously announced operation in Rafah has been strongly rejected by the international community and the United Nations as the governorate is home to half of Gaza’s population with a high risk of food insecurity and without access to essential services such as shelter, food, water or sanitation after almost seven months of conflict.

Several UN humanitarian agencies consider this and similar evacuation initiatives by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as forced displacement.

Louise Wateridge, spokesperson for Unrwa, warned that in Al Mawasi there is a serious lack of sufficient infrastructure, including available water.

In statements reported by the UN news website, she said the idea of displacing tens of thousands more people there was not feasible.

An earlier assessment by the agency estimated that more than 400,000 people are sheltering in the coastal area while other groups continue to arrive from the nearby town of Khan Younis.

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