Factbox: 2.3 mln Palestinians under Israeli attacks in Gaza — A humanitarian catastrophe in the making!

Radwa ElSayed Hani , Sunday 22 Oct 2023

The humanitarian situation for the 2.3 million Palestinians struggling to survive under the complete Israeli blockade on food, water, and fuel for two weeks in the Gaza Strip is reaching catastrophic levels — according to all reports from inside the strip as well as the UN and international aid organizations.

Gaza Strip
FILE - Palestinians crowding to buy bread from a bakery, in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct, 15, 2023. AP


Five UN bodies issued a statement on Saturday detailing the humanitarian disaster underway in the Gaza Strip despite the entry of 37 trucks carrying some food and medical supplies donated by multiple regional and international parties through the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

On Saturday, the Rafah border crossing opened for the first time for some humanitarian relief to Palestinians in Gaza since the start of the blockade more than two weeks ago as per an agreement between Egypt, Israel, and the US.

"Gaza was a desperate humanitarian situation before the most recent hostilities. It is now catastrophic. The world must do more," said the statement issued by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), and World Health Organisation (WHO).

The convoy carried about 4 percent of an average day’s imports before the war and "a fraction of what is needed after 13 days of complete siege," according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Here is what we know so far — according to UN figures and figures released by various Palestinian sources and authorities:

  • Since 7 October, as of Sunday, 4,651 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli airstrikes and gunfire in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
  • At least 1,750 children, women, and elderly have been killed by Israeli strikes launched against the strip.
  • More than 1.6 million people in Gaza are in critical need of humanitarian aid.
  • At least 30 percent of all housing units in the strip have been either destroyed, rendered uninhabitable, or damaged.
  • More than 1.4 million people have been displaced because of the relentless Israeli airstrikes.
  • 493,000 women and girls have been displaced from their homes in the strip as a result of the Israeli bombardment.
  • Seven major hospitals, along with 25 health centres, closed in Gaza due to a lack of fuel, oxygen, and other medical supplies.
  • Israel warned of bombing Al-Shifa and Al-Quds hospitals in Gaza following its massacre in Al-Ahli hospital.
  • 16 health workers, 29 UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff, and four Palestine Red Crescent paramedics were killed by the Israeli strikes.
  • 50,000 pregnant women are without basic services in the strip, 5,500 of whom are expected to give birth this month.
  • 9,000 cancer patients lack healthcare because of conditions in Gaza's chemotherapy hospitals amid the continuous Israeli attacks.
  • Three litres of water are only available per person per day, as the last functioning desalination and wastewater treatment plants shut down due to lack of fuel.
  • 34,000 patients suffering from chronic kidney disease face a higher risk of death due to water shortages and electricity outages.
  • At least 120 newborn babies in Gaza hospitals' incubators are at risk of death as fuel runs out in the strip.
  • 20,000 people are in need of specialised mental health services, with hospitals overcrowded with patients awaiting treatment.
  • Israeli forces have threatened five UNRWA schools to bomb following the Israeli airstrikes on other schools.
  • 31 mosques were severely damaged due to the heavy Israeli airstrikes on historical sites in Gaza.
  • Three churches, including the historical Greek Orthodox Church, were bombed by Israeli forces. 
  • Most shops have food stocks for less than one week, with overall stocks of sufficient key food items running out in the coming weeks.
  • Rescue teams, primarily from the Palestinian Civil Defence, struggle to carry out their mission amid the Israeli airstrikes.
  • As the Israeli airstrikes continue to pummel homes on top of residents, Palestinians have had to bury many unidentified victims in mass graves.
  • On Saturday, 43 bodies of unidentified Palestinians were laid to rest in a mass grave without epitaph.


Palestinians look for survivors after the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Deir Al-Balah, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023. AP

A man reacts as he carries the shrouded body of his child in front of the morgue of the Al-Aqsa hospital in D
eir Balah in the central Gaza Strip, following an Israeli strike on October 22, 2023. AP 

Medical team members transport a boy injured in an Israeli strike at a makeshift emergency ward set up outside the Kuwait hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on October 22, 2023. AFP​

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip sit in a UNDP-provided tent camp in Khan Younis on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. AP​

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