Massacre of humanitarian workers, 100 dead in raids in the Gaza strip

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By John

Firm, in their place, even under the bombs. Willing to die to help those in difficulty. A tragically real eventuality in the Gaza Strip, where dAt the beginning of the Israeli siege, over 100 employees of UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, lost their lives. Almost three deaths a day since October 7: a “carnage” that “simply must end”, wrote the general commissioner of UNRWA, Phillipe Lazzarini, in an editorial in the Washington Post. Lazzarini is “devastated” and “in mourning” for these data, which are not numbers but “parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, support staff”.

A tragedy that must be put to an end, which is why “a humanitarian ceasefire is needed now”, says the head of the agency. But it is not just UNRWA employees who are dying in the Strip: a few days ago the World Health Organization reported that over 160 health workers had already lost their lives in the line of duty. The hospitals in the Strip are collapsing, many have already closed – 21 according to Hamas – and those few still operational are struggling to carry on without means of subsistence and fuel. Staff are forced to work with hundreds of times more patients than normal, often in the dark or when you are luckier by the light of a smartphone as there is also no electricity. According to Israel, Hamas shelters are hidden under the health facilities, which is why they would be targeted. “We cannot abandon our tasks, we cannot leave thousands of victims and injured patients without help,” Ezudine Lulu, a medical student who works in al-Shifa hospital, the largest in all of Gaza, posted on Instagram: ” We will only leave as victors or martyrs. Forgive me,” she added. Midhat Saidam, killed on the evening of October 15, worked in the same facility. The 47-year-old surgeon, the BBC reports, had been operating continuously in al-Shifa for a week. He decided to take a break, return home to rest during the night: a bombing left him no escape. UNRWA “is helping more than 700,000 people in 150 of its shelters”, explains the UN agency’s communications director, Juliette Touma. «We have no supplies, there is no fuel: we need a humanitarian ceasefire to allow us to operate» as best as possible, concludes Touma. The war between Israel and Hamas is “the hardest and most violent ever” in terms of human lives for UN humanitarian workers. A sad budget destined to rise.