The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday that the health supplies that entered Gaza are only a “drop in the ocean” of the required needs.
The head of the World Health Organization added that “the organization continues to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.”
Earlier, Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a ceasefire in Gaza and finding a “real solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in an emotional appeal before the executive council of the United Nations-affiliated organization, describing the conditions in Gaza as “hellish.”
Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said on the first of February that the risk of famine in the Gaza Strip is escalating due to the ongoing war.
Earlier, the head of the organization warned that stopping funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) would have “disastrous consequences” for the residents of the war-torn Gaza Strip.
He said at a press conference, “There is no other entity that has the capability to provide the volume and scope of assistance that 2.2 million people in Gaza urgently need.”
He added, “We appeal for a reconsideration of these announcements,” referring to the decisions taken by several countries to suspend funding to UNRWA following accusations that some of its staff participated in the attack on Israel on October 7.
The suspension of aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) by several major donor countries occurred after allegations surfaced that around a dozen of UNRWA’s tens of thousands of Palestinian employees were suspected of involvement in the October 7 attacks in Israel by Hamas. These allegations included the participation of nine UNRWA staff members, who worked as teachers, in the attacks, with Israel claiming that the agency has employed up to 190 militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Following these allegations, countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland decided to suspend their funding to UNRWA, putting the agency’s operations and its mission to provide humanitarian aid and services in Gaza and the region at risk. UNRWA responded by dismissing the implicated staff members and called for a transparent independent investigation, emphasizing the critical nature of their services in Gaza, where they employ 13,000 people and provide aid to nearly the entire population affected by the conflict and the blockade imposed since 2005.
In response to these developments, some experts and officials have called for a balanced approach, recognizing UNRWA’s indispensable role in providing humanitarian aid in Gaza. They argue that the suspension of funding, especially based on allegations against a small number of employees, undermines the overall credibility of the UN and affects the humanitarian space negatively. It is suggested that donor countries should seek transparency and accountability from UNRWA but also consider the agency’s long history of aid delivery and its robust mechanisms for ensuring neutrality and preventing misuse of its resources. The importance of UNRWA’s services, especially in times of heightened need, is highlighted, and the potential consequences of a prolonged suspension of aid could be catastrophic for the millions depending on UNRWA for basic necessities.