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News / Nation & World

U.N. appeals for $2.8B to help 3M Palestinians in need of aid

Official calls Shifa Hospital aftermath ‘a scene of terror’

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press
Published: April 17, 2024, 5:55pm

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations appealed for $2.8 billion on Tuesday to provide desperately needed aid to 3 million Palestinians, stressing that tackling looming famine in war-torn Gaza requires not only food but sanitation, water and health facilities.

Andrea De Domenico, the head of the U.N. humanitarian office for Gaza and the West Bank, told reporters that “massive operations” are required to restore those services and meet minimum standards — and this can’t be done during military operations.

He pointed to the destruction of hospitals, water and sanitation facilities, homes, roads and schools, adding that “there is not a single university that is standing in Gaza.”

De Domenico said Israel’s recently ended second major military operation at Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility, was so destructive the facility has been forced to shut down. As an example, he questioned what the military objective was in shooting an MRI scanner that examines parts of the body and can detect cancers.

He said his team has been dealing with “a scene of terror” at the hospital, with U.N. and Palestinian colleagues helping people try to recognize family members from shoes or clothes on “the remnants of corpses.”

Israel promised to open more border crossings into Gaza and increase the flow of aid into Gaza after its drone strikes killed seven aid workers from the World Central Kitchen who were delivering food into the territory on April 1.

The killings were condemned by Israel’s closest allies and heightened criticism of Israel’s conduct in the 6-month-old war with Hamas, sparked by the extremist group’s surprise attack in southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people and led some 250 others to be taken hostage. The Israeli offensive in Gaza aimed at destroying Hamas has caused widespread devastation and killed over 33,800 people, according to local health officials.