Gaza, reeling under Israel’s massive response to Hamas’s October 7 bloody border onslaught, needs huge amounts of humanitarian aid, around 100 trucks per day, UN officials say.
“We need to start with a serious number of trucks going in and we need to build up to 100 trucks a day,” the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths tells CNN Europe.
“That used to be the case of the aid program going into Gaza,” he added, even before the past two weeks of heightened unrest following the Hamas attack which killed some 1,400 people in Israel and the Israeli riposte which has left some 3,500 dead in Gaza.
“We’ve been in incredibly detailed negotiations with the parties to make an understanding and an agreement on exactly what an aid program would look like going into southern Gaza,” says Griffiths.
“So number one, we need to be able to have the assurance that we can go in at scale every day, deliberately, repetitively and reliably,” says Griffiths, speaking hours after US President Joe Biden said he had received Israeli assurances that aid would come in through the Rafah border crossing on the Gaza–Egypt border at the southern end of the Gaza Strip.
“Secondly, we have to be able to do so to reach people safely. International humanitarian law is there for a reason. It requires people to make their own choices about where to be safely, and it requires us and indeed, all of us to ensure that safety, and the humanitarian community to provide aid to people in the places they choose to be safe.”
He says he hoped that within the next couple of days the “essential program of aid” could start, said Griffiths, noting the UN, including its Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) development agency, has some 14,000 staff in the strip to aid with distribution.
Griffiths stresses the aid would go to the civilian population and not to Hamas, which controls Gaza, home to 2.4 million people.