By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Thousands of Palestinians have broken into aid warehouses in Gaza to take flour and basic hygiene products, a UN agency said Sunday, indicating a sign of frustration and desperation for food and water scarcity continues in the highly populated city.
According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the warehouse break-ins were “a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege on Gaza. People are scared, frustrated and desperate.”
UNRWA provides basic services to hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza. Its schools across the territory have been converted into packed shelters housing Palestinians displaced by the conflict.
The war between Israel and Hamas militants which Jerusalem and western allies consider terrorists was sparked by the October 7 invasion of Israeli territory where hundreds of people were killed and others abducted, an action for which Israel vowed to occupy Gaza till “Hamas is eliminated”.
Israel has allowed only a small portion of aid to enter from Egypt, some of which was stored in one of the warehouses that was broken into, UNRWA said.
Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for the agency, said the crowds broke into four facilities on Saturday.
She said the warehouses did not contain any fuel, which has been in critically short supply since Israel cut off all shipments after the start of the war.
In the central town of Deir al-Balah, one of the looting sites was a warehouse used to store supplies from humanitarian convoys that began crossing into Gaza from Egypt on October 21, UNRWA added.
“Supplies on the market are running out while the humanitarian aid coming into the Gaza Strip on trucks from Egypt is insufficient,” the agency stated, in reference to 84 aid trucks that have crossed into Gaza from Egypt.
“The needs of the communities are immense, if only for basic survival, while the aid we receive is meagre and inconsistent,” Thomas White a UN official added.
An average of 500 trucks a day entered Gaza before the war. Hamas, however, has been stealing supplies before and after their October 7 attack, UN first aid kits were even carried by terrorists that infiltrated Israel.
Two weeks ago, UNRWA said Hamas authorities in Gaza stole fuel and medical supplies meant for refugees from its premises in Gaza City.
The agency then deleted the X posts, saying the supplies were moved to its “health partners.”