A United Nations agency providing humanitarian aid in Gaza is expected to run out of fuel in three to four days, further deepening the humanitarian crisis in the territory as its supply of basic resources continues to run dry, the agency’s commissioner-general confirmed Sunday.
“Today, I issued a statement — an alarm — because in three to four days, we will have no fuel anymore in Gaza,” Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), said in an interview with CBS News’s “Face The Nation.”
“And what does it mean? No fuel, no water, no bakery, no running a hospital. But beyond that — that means also there will be no humanitarian operation; we need fuel to move the truck to reach the people in need.”
Lazzarini was referencing a statement he released Sunday morning that called on “all parties and those with influence over them” to immediately allow fuel supplies into Gaza and “to ensure that it is strictly used to prevent humanitarian operations from collapsing.”
The U.N. agency has repeatedly warned of being on the verge of collapse following Israel’s complete siege over food, water, electricity and medical supplies nearly two weeks ago following the militant group Hamas’s deadly surprise attack that left over 1,400 people in Israel dead and thousands more wounded.
Within days of the siege beginning, Gaza’s sole power plant ran out of fuel. Most of the territory has been run by generators, which are already scarce in the region.
In his visit to Tel Aviv last week, President Biden announced an agreement to allow humanitarian aid to move from Egypt to Gaza and confirmed the U.S. would fund $100 million to assist those living in Gaza and the West Bank. Trucks carrying aid have since entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing — Gaza’s only connection to Egypt — which had shut down in the wake of Israeli airstrikes.
Sunday’s delivery included water, food and medical equipment, but no fuel, Israel said, per ABC News.
Asked about the trucks entering Gaza with aid, Lazzarini said, “What we need is a significant scaling up of a supply line into Gaza.”
“And it needs to be sustained, and it needs to be uninterrupted,” he continued. “Before Oct. 7, we had up to 500 trucks entering into Gaza. And this was under a blockade; at the time already 80 percent of the population was dependent on international assistance. So we need … much more than that.”
As Israel has launched hundreds of retaliatory airstrikes into Gaza, more than 1 million Palestinians have been forced out of their homes and into shelters, some of which are run by UNRWA. Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has so far killed more than 4,600 Palestinians and injured more than 14,000 others, the Gaza Ministry of Health reported Sunday.
An impending ground invasion by Israeli forces into Gaza has sparked concerns over humanitarian aid complications, though Lazzarini said he has “no intent to interrupt any operation.”
“We have to continue to advocate to keep the border open to bring fuel inside, to bring the supply inside, and also asking to the Israeli and … also the armed into the Gaza Strip, the Hamas, not to target any civilian infrastructure, not to target our shelter where we have half a million people seeking protection in the UNRWA school,” Lazzarini said. “And basically, whether there is a ground invasion or not, we need to continue to provide assistance and protection to the civilians more than ever.”