Gaza death toll passes 5,000 with no ceasefire in sight
23 October 2023
The number of people killed in Gaza has reached 5,087 according to latest reports from de facto authorities there, amid intensifying Israeli airstrikes in response to Hamas attacks, even as United Nations entities have repeated urgent calls for a ceasefire and more aid convoys.
UN health agency (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued a new appeal on Monday for “sustained safe passage” for medical essentials and fuel to keep health facilities open.
“Lives depend on these decisions,” he insisted on social platform X.
Latest media reports citing the Gaza Ministry of Health indicate that the number of people killed in Gaza since 7 October has risen to 5,087.
Women and children have made up more than 62 per cent of the fatalities, while more than 15,273 people have been injured.
In its latest humanitarian update on the Gaza-Israel crisis UN humanitarian aid coordination office, OCHA, said that more than 1,000 have been reported missing and “are presumed to be trapped or dead under the rubble”.
Israel: Threefold rise in deaths
According to Israeli official sources quoted by OCHA, some 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, the vast majority in the Hamas attacks on 7 October which triggered the latest conflict.
OCHA said that the reported fatality toll is “over threefold the cumulative number of Israelis killed” since it began recording casualties in 2005.
At least 212 Israeli and foreign nationals are being held captive in Gaza, the Israeli authorities have said. Two hostages were released last Friday. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has repeatedly called upon Hamas to release hostages immediately and unconditionally.
Trickle of aid
According to media reports a new aid convoy entered Gaza from Egypt on Monday through the Rafah border crossing. This was the third such delivery after the crossing opened on Saturday for the first time since the start of the conflict, following intense diplomatic efforts.
A total of 34 trucks with aid provided by the UN and the Egyptian Red Crescent entered the enclave over the weekend. The UN has stressed that to respond to soaring humanitarian needs, at least 100 aid trucks per day are required.
Desperate need for fuel
The development comes as UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) warned on Sunday that it was set to run out of fuel within three days, putting the humanitarian response in Gaza at risk.
UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini said that without fuel, “there will be no water, no functioning hospitals and bakeries” and that “no fuel will further strangle the children, women and people of Gaza”.
Meanwhile, OCHA said that more than 625,000 children in Gaza have been deprived of education for at least 12 days, and 206 schools have been damaged. At least 29 of them are UNRWA-run establishments.
UNRWA reported on Sunday that 29 of its staff members have been killed in Gaza since 7 October – half of them teachers.
In the occupied West Bank, the escalation has also resulted in restrictions on the access to education. OCHA said that all the schools inside the territory were closed from 7 to 9 October, affecting some 782,000 students. As of last week, over 230 schools which cater to some 50,000 students had not reopened.
Water aid for Gaza a literal drop in the Ocean
The 40,000 litres of drinking water trucked into Gaza on Saturday represent ‘a drop in the ocean’, considering the immense needs following two weeks of conflict, UNICEF representatives cautioned.
Speaking to UN News several hours after the convoy passed through the Rafah crossing in southern Egypt, Jeremy Hopkins, UNICEF Representative in Egypt, raised the need for the corridor to be open on a sustained, continuous basis to respond to the urgent needs of displaced communities, including the 300,000 children living without a home.
A version of this article was first published on UN News. For more information about the UN's support to the Occupied Territory of Palestine, please visit palestine.un.org.