The United Nations has reported that more than 260,000 people have been displaced from their homes in the Gaza Strip as Israel continues to launch heavy air, ground, and naval attacks on the Palestinian territory. The UN said the number of displaced people is the highest since the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that more than a quarter of a million people in Gaza have left their homes as of Tuesday, October 10, 2023, due to the ongoing conflict. It said that this figure is likely to increase as the situation worsens.
The violence started on Saturday, October 7, 2023, when Hamas launched a massive attack on Israel with rockets and infiltrators, killing over 1,000 Israelis. Israel responded with a fierce bombing campaign that targeted Hamas positions and infrastructure.
OCHA said that most of the displaced people in Gaza, about 175,500, found refuge in 88 schools run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Another 14,500 went to 12 government schools, while around 74,000 stayed with relatives and neighbours or sought shelter in churches and other places.
OCHA also said that the bombing has left more than 1,000 housing units destroyed and 560 severely damaged and unfit for living. It said that the people who have not left their homes are facing difficulties in accessing basic services such as water, electricity, health care, and food.
The international community has condemned the violence and urged both sides to end the hostilities and resume negotiations. The US, which is Israel’s main ally, has said it is working to establish a diplomatic channel with Egypt to facilitate a truce and humanitarian assistance. However, both Israel and Hamas have vowed to continue fighting until their demands are met.
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