The Commissioner General of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNRWA), Filipe Lazarini, has warned that Israeli attacks on the southern Gaza Strip could push one million Palestinian refugees towards the Egyptian border, UNRWA announced.
“If there’s fighting, it’s really more likely that they might want to flee further south and across the border,” Lazarini said.
We have a million people, a million people in UN shelters, including 100,000 in the north, he added.
His statement followed the continuation of Israeli attacks in the Palestinian enclave after the end of a one-week humanitarian pause.
According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, at least 193 Palestinians have been killed and 652 wounded since Friday in Israeli airstrikes.
He is concerned about the impact of fighting in the south, which he described as “completely overloaded” after Israel urged civilians in the north of the territory to move south for their own safety.
“The Gaza Strip was already known as being one of the most crowded places in the world. And now, you have the majority of the population moved towards the south,” he said.
“So, you have the almost complete concentration of the population in half the territory – an area that cannot support such a presence because of even the lack of water.
“It simply cannot cater to so many people. Remember people from Gaza City and the north have been asked to go to the south because they were told the south would be safer. Yet a large proportion have been killed in the south.”
Israel launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on October 7. Since then, 15,207 people have been killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, 70 percent of whom are children and women, and more than 40,650 people have been wounded.
The official death toll in Israel is 1,200, The Guardian writes.