UN: Gaza humanitarian situation much worse

The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has become much worse, the UN Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA) said Friday.

Fighting between the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, and Israel in Gaza came to a halt Friday under a four-day humanitarian pause deal.

“Winter is very fast approaching, and it is getting colder in Gaza. Skin diseases and diarrhea have exponentially increased as a result of unsanitary conditions made much worse by the rain,” UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini said during a visit to the enclave.

“In some places, the rates of diseases are 45 times more than it was in previous years,” he said. “Like I said before, it’s only a matter of time before people in Gaza start dying due to the siege and the lack of basics not just because of the bombardment.”

Lazzarini reiterated his demand for a long-standing humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

“People need respite, they deserve calm, they deserve to sleep at night without being anxious whether they will make it through,” he said. “The longer this war goes on, the deeper the polarization, the anger, the frustration, and the further we are from a prospect of a political solution.”

Israel and Hamas swapped 24 Israelis and foreigners for 39 Palestinians from Israeli jails Friday, on the first day of the humanitarian pause.

Under the agreement, the hostages will be released in batches during the four days.

Israel launched a massive military campaign against the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas last month,

It has since killed at least 14,854 Palestinians, including 6,150 children and over 4,000 women, according to health authorities in the enclave.

The official Israeli death toll stands at 1,200.

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