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UN calls for Israel to provide more access, respect for civilians

United Nations, May 21 (Prensa Latina) The United Nations (UN) on Tuesday called on Israel to provide more access for vital aid in Gaza, warning that the offensive in Rafah hinders the entry of supplies and worsens living conditions.

“I believe we´ve been very, very clear on the fact that we do not believe that the Israeli authorities are allowing enough humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip,” the Secretary-General’s spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement.

Dujarric confirmed on Tuesday that the Rafah crossing remains closed while the Kerem Shalom crossing is partially operating as shipments reach the Israeli side of the border.

“Access challenges continue due to ongoing fighting, challenging logistics, the security of our colleagues and the complexity of coordinating with all involved,” Dujarric detailed.

Another access point in the north, the Erez crossing, was open between May 1 and 9, but has remained closed since then.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) also rejected the lack of access to two of its main facilities in Rafah.

Due to the ongoing fighting, UNRWA staffers are unable to reach the Agency’s distribution center and the World Food Program (WFP) warehouse located in the southern governorate, UNRWA said.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), over 75% of the Gaza Strip (some 285 square kilometers) is under evacuation orders amid the escalated hostilities.

OCHA urged respect for international humanitarian law and, in particular, protection of civilians in all circumstances.

“Wherever they are in Gaza, their essential needs must be met, including food, shelter, water and health,” OCHA stressed.

The WFP, on the other hand, confirmed the loss of more than 100 supply distribution points in Rafah alone as a result of the Israeli military escalation.

This operation, which began on May 5, forced more than 900,000 people to displace in the last two weeks.