Renewed fighting has forced the the United Nations agency that oversees humanitarian operations in the Palestinian territories to suspend food shipments to Gaza. A six month-old Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, and between Hamas and Israel, is set to expire on Friday. Fighting, though, has already renewed, creating an impossible operating environment for humanitarian workers.
Due to the ongoing crisis with irregular border access and the lack of wheat flour in Gaza, UNRWA has exhausted all stocks of flour in its warehouses. Wheat supplies scheduled to arrive in Gaza the 9-10 December were unable to enter due to rocket fire, hence the mills have run out of flour and UNRWA has been forced to suspend food distribution.
Food distribution for both emergency and regular programs will be suspended from Thurs 18th December until further notice.
All crossings for goods into the Strip are closed and no humanitarian supplies, fuel and other needed commodities are being allowed to enter. A total of 750,000 refugees out of a population of 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip depend on food assistance from UNRWA. On average, the Agency distributes food to about 20,000 refugees per day. Once the supply of flour resumes, UNRWA will work as quickly as it can to clear the backlog and get back on schedule.