Humanitarian Crisis Unfolding: Displaced Gazans Struggle Amidst Ongoing Conflict


As the Israel-Gaza conflict rages on, the humanitarian crisis in the region has reached alarming levels, with many displaced Gazans forced to live “in the open, in the parks,” according to Juliette Touma of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that over 100,000 people have sought refuge in Rafah, near Gaza’s border with Egypt, in recent days. The situation, marked by limited assistance and growing humanitarian needs, highlights the pressing challenges faced by the displaced population.

Challenges in Aid Distribution: UNRWA Faces Restrictions

Limited Assistance Amidst Growing Needs

UNRWA’s Juliette Touma emphasized that although the UN has been authorized to provide “limited assistance,” the humanitarian needs in Gaza have significantly expanded. The agency continues to grapple with “restrictions to access areas in the Gaza Strip,” hindering its ability to provide essential aid and support to the affected population.

Israel’s Stance and Distribution Issues

Israel counters claims of limiting aid, asserting that the challenge lies in the distribution process rather than restrictions on aid itself. The Israeli military launched its offensive following a deadly attack by Hamas on October 7, leading to a significant loss of life and a surge in displacement. The conflict’s toll includes over 21,672 fatalities and 56,165 injuries, with access to humanitarian aid tightly controlled throughout the enclave.

Intensified Military Campaign: Shifting Dynamics in Gaza

Geographical Shift in Israeli Focus

The Israeli military’s strategy has evolved, initially concentrating on Gaza’s northern regions and later intensifying operations in southern Gaza, particularly targeting Khan Younis, identified as a Hamas stronghold. The geographical shift indicates a dynamic approach aimed at dismantling key Hamas strongholds across the territory.

Netanyahu’s Declaration: Prolonged Conflict

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, echoing statements from the chief of general staff, affirmed that the war would persist “for many months.” The objectives include achieving “the release of all our hostages and the dismantlement of Hamas.” The prolonged conflict raises concerns about the enduring impact on both the displaced population and the geopolitical landscape.

Overcrowded Shelters and Displacement Figures: UNRWA’s Assessment

Overcrowded Conditions in Rafah

UNRWA’s Gaza director, Tom White, reported that “well over a million people” sought safety in Rafah, with shelters, including UNRWA schools and municipal facilities, filled to capacity. Hundreds of thousands of individuals are now compelled to sleep in the open, enduring harsh conditions with minimal protection.

Displacement Figures

UNRWA’s latest report reveals that up to 1.9 million people have been displaced across the Gaza Strip since the conflict’s onset. The recent surge in displacement to Rafah is attributed to intensified fighting in Khan Younis and other areas, driving residents to seek refuge in overcrowded shelters.

Health Concerns and WHO Warning: Infectious Diseases on the Rise

Spike in Infectious Diseases

The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed alarm over a surge in infectious diseases among Gaza’s displaced community. WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus highlighted a notable increase in diseases, including 136,400 cases of diarrhea, 55,400 cases of lice and scabies, and 126 cases of meningitis between mid-October and mid-December. The dire health situation adds another layer of urgency to the ongoing crisis.


As the conflict unfolds, the plight of displaced Gazans underscores the urgency for international intervention to address the humanitarian crisis. Overcrowded conditions, limited assistance, and health concerns necessitate swift and coordinated efforts to alleviate suffering and protect vulnerable populations amidst the ongoing turmoil.

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