UN’s Guterres Sees Gaza Humanitarian Crisis at Close Range

UN’s Guterres Sees Gaza Humanitarian Crisis at Close Range UN’s Guterres Sees Gaza Humanitarian Crisis at Close Range

UN chief Antonio Guterres called for the blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted Wednesday as he visited the Palestinian enclave enduring “one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises” he had seen.

“I am deeply moved to be in Gaza today, unfortunately to witness one of the most dramatic humanitarian crises that I’ve seen in many years working as a humanitarian in the United Nations,” Guterres said, Yahoo News reported.

He later said it was “important to open the closures,” in a reference to Israel’s decade-long blockade of Gaza and to the border with Egypt that has remained largely closed in recent years.

Guterres made the comments at a school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, in the northern Gaza Strip.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN member states.

UNRWA also receives some funding from the regular budget of the United Nations, which is used mostly for international staffing costs.

The agency’s services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, microfinance and emergency assistance, including in times of armed conflict.

Palestinian militants in Gaza and Israel have fought three wars since 2008.

Israel says the blockade is necessary to keep the resistance movement Hamas, which runs the enclave, from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used to make them.

The blockade also serves to isolate Hamas.

UN officials say the enclave is fast becoming unlivable, with sparse electricity and a lack of clean water.

Guterres’s comments came as he wrapped up a three-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

He held talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday and Tuesday and was due to give a speech in Tel Aviv later Wednesday before departing.

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