The United Nations said that at least 52,000 people had been displaced in the Gaza Strip due to Israeli attacks on the area and the number of people sheltering in UN schools is increasing.

Jens Laerke, the Geneva spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), told Anadolu Agency during a twice-weekly UN media briefing in Geneva that the number of displaced people has surpassed 52,000 since the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“We have an additional influx into our schools. As I mentioned, there are 47,000 as of this morning in UNWRA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) schools. So it is climbing that number, and there are above 52,000 total IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons),” he added.

Laerke said OCHA welcomed the Israeli authorities opening of Kerem Shalom crossing for essential humanitarian supplies.

“It is critical that Erez crossing is also opened for the entry and exit of critical humanitarian staff,” he said.

The Israeli military said Tuesday it fired more than 100 munitions at 65 targets, including the homes of Hamas commanders. It said more than 60 fighter jets took part in the operation.

At least 213 Palestinians have been killed in heavy airstrikes so far, including 61 children and 36 women, with more than 1,400 people wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

The strikes have brought down several buildings and caused widespread damage in the narrow coastal territory, which is home to more than 2 million Palestinians and has been under an Israeli-Egyptian blockade since 2007, when Hamas took over the strip.

The UN spokesman said power supplies across Gaza are still limited to six to eight hours a day on average due to damage to feeder lines and networks.

“This disrupts the provision of health care and other basic services including water, hygiene, and sanitation,” said Laerke.

He said six hospitals and nine primary health care centers had been damaged, with one center sustaining severe damage and one hospital unable to function due to a lack of fuel.

Assisting more than 52,000 people

“As far as the security situation allows, the UN along with our humanitarian partners provide food and non-food items to displaced families in Gaza, and immediate cash assistance to more than 52,000 people,” said Laerke.

The main solid waste disposal site in Gaza has been temporarily closed as a result of bombardment on May 15, he said.

Solid waste is now accumulating in a sub-station in the center of Gaza City.

The OCHA official said that the North Gaza Seawater Desalination Plant is not operational.

“This undermines access to drinking water for about 250,000 people. In total, an estimated 800,000 people are lacking regular access to safe water in Gaza,” he said.

The Rafah crossing with Egypt is open for passengers in both directions and the Salah Ad Din gate, also with Egypt, has also re-opened.

“In the West Bank, we continue to see widespread demonstrations and clashes in many locations,” said Laerke.

Health partners and community volunteers continue to treat a substantial number of injuries resulting from the use of live ammunition by Israeli forces.

World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris said that in the Gaza Strip 46% of the central drugs and 33% of central medical supplies are at zero stock – “that’s less than one month.”

She said Palestinians seeking refuge in UNWRA schools in the Gaza Strip are now making limiting physical distancing, making it almost impossible.

“And as you know, during COVID-19 one of the things that you need to do is avoid mass gatherings and avoid crowding,” said Harris, noting that there had been “serious access challenges.”

“There have been 36 recorded incidents of obstruction to access for medical teams in the West Bank since 12 May, including prevention of humanitarian health access to at least two people who were fatally wounded,” said the WHO spokeswoman.

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