The United Nations has issued a stark warning in response to a worsening of civil order in the Gaza Strip, as thousands of desperate civilians storm into government warehouses in search of basic necessities.
The populace of the blockaded Palestinian enclave, subject to an Egyptian and Israeli-enforced land, air, and sea embargo, have watched as an already dire economic situation is being exacerbated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. An all-up surge in unemployment means that many are faced with no option but to take whatever supplies they can find from the state-controlled warehouses in Gaza City and the North.
The influx of people has made it increasingly difficult for those in charge to face the dual dilemma of securing civil order and assuring the population of the scarce resources of food, water, and other basic goods.
This morning UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, gave this statement: “Violent and chaotic behaviour by some Palestinians does not help anyone and is particularly concerning at a time of high risk for COVID-19. It is all the more important that authorities act quickly to enforce law and order while meeting the basic needs of the population.”
Organizations such as the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) have stepped up community outreach in an attempt to better manage the situation, including organising additional food distributions of ready-to-eat meals to vulnerable families.
At this stage it is anyone’s guess how this modern day humanitarian crisis will end. It is certain, however, that without drastic improvements in the socio-economic situation of the citizens of Gaza, further unrest and civil disorder can be expected.