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Tens of thousands of Palestinians displaced to escape Israeli attacks

Published : 06 Dec 2023, 01:47

  DF News Desk
This photo taken on Dec. 2, 2023 shows the exterior view of a temporary hospital in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis. Photo: Xinhua by Rizek Abdeljawad.

The United Nations said on Tuesday that it has monitored a record number of Palestinians who have been displaced to the city of Rafah, in the far south of the Gaza Strip, to escape Israeli attacks, reported Xinhua.

In a press statement, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that tens of thousands of displaced people from the neighboring Khan Younis have arrived in Rafah in the past 48 hours.

Most of the newly arrived people settled in the city's streets and empty spaces, where they set up tents and temporary shelters, as the shelters in Rafah have far exceeded their capacity.

On Dec. 1, the Israeli army published a map of safe areas for the evacuation of Gazans during the next stage of the conflict.

In addition to the area inside the city of Khan Younis, residents from the communities east of Khan Younis, Al-Qarara, Khuza'a, Abasan, and Bani Suhaila, were ordered to move south to Rafah.

These areas, which occupy 69 square kilometers and constitute 19 percent of the land area of the Gaza Strip, were home to about 352,000 people before the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Israeli army also ordered residents to evacuate from the eastern part of Gaza City and Jabalia in northern Gaza Strip towards the western areas of the enclave.

These areas make up about 6 percent of the Gaza Strip's total land area and were home to about 415,000 people before the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict. The number of individuals departing the area in response to the most recent Israeli evacuation order is yet unknown, as many nearby residents have already been evacuated.

Overall, it is estimated that about 1.8 million people in Gaza, or nearly 80 percent of the total population, are internally displaced, according to the OCHA.

Nearly 1.1 million displaced people were registered in 156 facilities affiliated with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) throughout Gaza. Among them, 958,000 people were registered in the agency's 99 shelters in the south.

An estimated 191,000 displaced people are being housed by 124 public schools, hospitals, and other places such as wedding halls, offices and community centers, and the rest live in homes of their family members.

Fighting resumed between Israel and the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on Dec. 1 after the collapse of a seven-day ceasefire.

According to the Gaza-based Health Ministry, 15,899 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 42,000 others injured in the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, when Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel. In Israel, about 1,200 have been killed, most of whom died during Hamas's attack on Oct. 7 that triggered the conflict.