Israel’s evacuation order affects 300,000 civilians: UNRWA

Displaced Palestinians make their way towards Gaza City following an Israeli evacuation order
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Sunday said that the evacuation order by the Israeli army has forced some 300,000 people to flee Gaza‘s southernmost city of Rafah over the past week.

The UNRWA posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “there is nowhere safe to go. There is nowhere safe to go. There is nowhere safe to go”.

The Israeli army on Saturday ordered further evacuation of Palestinian residents in eastern Rafah. Under the military threat, local residents left the eastern part of the city by cars and motorbikes loaded with their luggage.

Most of these affected people have gone through not just the first-time displacement, with some fleeing the areas of settlement once a month on average.

In a separate post on X on the same day, Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the UNRWA, said the “safe zones” claimed by the Israeli army are “false and misleading”, adding that “no place is safe in Gaza”.

Meanwhile, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also expressed its great concerns over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza on Sunday.

“I’m deeply distressed by the fast-deteriorating conditions in Gaza as Israeli forces intensify airstrikes on Jabalia and Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza and in parts of Central Gaza. I’ve repeatedly expressed my alarm about the catastrophic impact of a possible full-scale offensive on Rafah, including the possibility of further atrocity crimes,” said Volker Turk.

He further added that, “I can see no way that the latest evacuation orders, much less a full assault, in an area with an extremely dense presence of civilians, can be reconciled with the binding requirements of international humanitarian law and with the two sets of binding provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice. I call on Israel and Palestinian armed groups urgently to agree to a ceasefire, and all hostages must be released at once”.

In addition to the concerns expressed by UN agencies over the situation in Gaza, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday reiterated his urgent call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and a release of all hostages, when he paid a visit in Kuwait.

He said the conflict in the Gaza Strip has brought terrible suffering to local residents, leaving a large number of people displaced to suffer from hunger as well as physical and mental traumas.

The Palestinian death toll from ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip had reached 35,034 with 78,755 injuries since the Palestinian-Israeli conflict broke out last October, health authorities in Gaza said in a press statement on Sunday.

The statement noted that a number of victims are still under the rubble, and ambulance and civil defense crews cannot reach them.

Related video: Israel-Hamas War | Calls for immediate, unconditional and permanent ceasefire in Gaza