Thursday February 22, 2024

Relocation of Gaza residents extremely dangerous: UN chief

Published : 14 Oct 2023, 00:05

  DF News Desk
Palestinians flee their homes in Gaza City, on Oct. 13, 2023. Photo: Xinhua by Rizek Abdeljawad.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that the relocation of Gaza residents from the north to the south as ordered by the Israeli military is extremely dangerous, reported Xinhua.

After days of airstrikes, the Israeli military has ordered the Palestinians in Gaza City and its surroundings to move to the south of the territory, said Guterres. "Moving more than 1 million people across a densely populated warzone to a place with no food, water, or accommodation, when the entire territory is under siege, is extremely dangerous - and in some cases, simply not possible."

Hospitals in the south of Gaza are already at capacity and will not be able to accept thousands of new patients from the north. The health system is on the brink of collapse. Morgues are overflowing; 11 healthcare staff have been killed while on duty; and there have been 34 attacks on health facilities in the past few days, he said before walking into a Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The entire territory of Gaza faces a water crisis as infrastructure has been damaged and there is no electricity to power pumps and desalination plants, he added.

Guterres said the situation in Gaza has reached a dangerous new low.

The horrific terror attacks by Hamas on Israel that killed more than 1,200 people and injured thousands more on Saturday were followed by intense Israeli bombardment of Gaza that has already killed 1,800 people and injured thousands more, he noted.

Guterres called for immediate humanitarian access throughout Gaza so that fuel, food and water can be provided to people in need. He called for respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law, and for the protection of civilians. He also called for the immediate release of hostages in Gaza.

"It is imperative that all parties - and those with influence over them - do everything possible to achieve these steps," said Guterres.

The UN chief also warned against hate speech stoked by the conflict - across the Middle East and around the world.

"Dehumanizing language that incites violence is never accepted. I call on all leaders to speak out against Antisemitism, anti-Muslim bigotry and hate speech of all kinds. This is a time for the international community to come together around protecting civilians and finding a lasting solution to this unending cycle of death and destruction," he said.