The Gaza school struck in the tragic rocket attack yesterday was a distribution point for the UN World Food Programme (WFP). The WFP is leading the hunger relief mission in Gaza and throughout Palestine.
As the brutal conflict between Israel and Hamas militants has escalated, over 100,000 civilians have been displaced. Many have sought refuge in school buildings. The schools are operated by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Palestine. WFP is providing emergency food rations at all these schools.
But no place is safe in Gaza. UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl said of yesterday's killings:
Civilians are paying the highest price of the current military escalation. I condemn this callous shelling and the extensive loss of life...Today’s tragedy was yet another illustration that no one in Gaza is safe. I call once again on all parties to this conflict to recognize and respect the sanctity, neutrality and inviolability of UN premises. I further call for an immediate cease-fire to end the killing and maiming as well as the devastation and traumas that will mark the population for decades. Enough is enough."
The conflict is claiming the lives of more and more civilians each day. The violence is also worsening a hunger crisis too. Poverty was already at high levels in the region.
WFP's Country Director, Pablo Recalde, says, “The conflict in Gaza has affected a large number of people and the food needs rise every day." Close to 300,000 people in Gaza receive WFP food aid every month.
The increase in hunger also means WFP needs extra donations. In a press release earlier this week, WFP said it requires at least US $ 30 million in funds for the rest of this year. The UN food agency relies entirely on voluntary donations. Wars in Syria, Iraq and Africa have placed WFP under a great strain to keep up with the increase in hunger.
Calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas continue. Catholics Confront Global Poverty has put out an action alert asking citizens to write their leaders in support of a ceasefire. Until this happens the region will see more senseless violence and a worsening humanitarian crisis that will also claim innocent lives.