Displaced Palestinians crammed into Rafah in southern Gaza are struggling to secure basic necessities as aid agencies and several world leaders have warned that a looming Israeli offensive on the city would have disastrous consequences.

More than 1.5 million people, most of whom were displaced from other areas of Gaza, are sheltering in Rafah, where food and other essential supplies are scarce amid severe Israeli restrictions on the transport of food, fuel, water and humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Despite the growing external pressure to halt the Rafah assault, Israel says it will press ahead with a ground offensive into the city near the border with Egypt to confront battalions of fighters from Hamas, the Palestinian group that governs Gaza.

The United Nations special rapporteur on Palestine has slammed the planned Israeli ground offensive on the city.

“Rafah stands as the last line of Palestinian existence in Gaza, amidst the relentless anguish faced by the people trapped therein,” Francesa Albanese said.

Jagan Chapagain, the secretary-general and CEO of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has warned that the healthcare situation in Gaza is “beyond critical” and the gap between needs and support available is widening.

“Civilian population in Gaza have suffered enough, and healthcare stands as one of the last remaining beacons of hope,” Chapagain wrote on X, warning that many vulnerable people are lacking essential medical services.

Israel has repeatedly carried out attacks on hospitals and medical complexes in Gaza since launching its war on the besieged coastal enclave on October 7, crippling health services for the Palestinians living there.

According to the latest assessments from the World Health Organization (WHO), only 11 out of 36 hospitals in Gaza are partially functioning – five in the north and six in the south.

On Sunday, the WHO chief said that Nasser Hospital, the main hospital in southern Gaza, was “no longer functional” after weeks of deadly Israeli siege and shelling.

To compensate for the loss of essential healthcare services, Palestinian workers installed on Sunday a mobile hospital in Rafah.


Comments are closed.