EU to provide $52mn in additional humanitarian aid for Gaza
UN also said that only 62 trucks have passed through the Rafah crossing into the Hamas-controlled enclave in the last four days
The European Union (EU) will provide 50 million euros ($52 million) in additional humanitarian aid for Gaza as the raging Hamas-Israel conflict has led to multiple humanitarian crises in the besieged enclave, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced.
Addressing a news conference on Thursday after the first day of the EU leaders' summit, Ursula von der Leyen said the first 56 metric tonnes of aid from the EU have already been delivered to Gaza via two flights to Egypt, reports CNN.
At the summit, the bloc's leaders expressed concern about the deteriorating situation in Gaza and called for aid to reach those in need via "humanitarian corridors and pauses for humanitarian needs" — stopping short of calling for a ceasefire.
Von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel both emphasised the bloc's commitment to addressing the humanitarian crisis.
The EU is in contact "with the leaders in the region in order to encourage solutions on humanitarian front and release of the hostages", CNN quoted Michel as saying.
Asked whether Hamas representatives will be participating in an upcoming conference aimed at resolving the conflict, Michel said he "doesn’t see any role" for the group, citing its designation as a terrorist organisation.
Since Hamas launched its unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7, an estimated 1.4 million of the approximately 2 million people living in Gaza have been internally displaced, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Of these, 629,000 are sheltering in 150 UN Relief Works Agency (UNRWA)-designated emergency shelters.
The average number of displaced people per shelter has now reached 2.7 times the designated capacity, Xinhua news agency quoted the OCHA as saying.
The UN body also said that only 62 trucks have passed through the Rafah crossing -- the only border crossing between Gaza and Egypt -- into the Hamas-controlled enclave in the last four days when 500 trucks a day was the pre-conflict average.
The OCHA said the latest payloads of water, food and medical supplies ferried by the trucks from Egypt have already been distributed to medical sites and the displaced in besieged Gaza.
"Fuel, which is desperately needed to run backup generators, remains banned by the Israeli authorities," OCHA said.
"As a result, the (UNRWA has almost exhausted its fuel reserves and began to significantly reduce its operations."