US Voices Concern About UN Report On Imminent Starvation In Gaza

(MENAFN- Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) WASHINGTON, May 16 (KUNA) -- The United States expressed Thursday deep concern about a statement by UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, regarding an imminent starvation in the Gaza Strip with food stocks running out.
"So, we are deeply concerned about the reports indicating worsening conditions and imminent famine in Gaza," US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said.
"Israel needs to do more to urgently provide sustained and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance to enter both northern and southern Gaza, including facilitating efforts to get the right type of assistance to the most vulnerable," he added.
"We have been very clear about our position on a major military operation in Rafah. While we, of course, support Israel's right to defend itself, we believe a major military operation in Rafah would be a mistake.
"We have not seen that happen yet, but we're very concerned about an expanded operation in Rafah and what it could do to contributing towards the worsening humanitarian crisis.
"So, we are going to continue to engage with our partners in Israel on this, discuss with them alternatives and other avenues, and we'll continue to have that conversation.
He went to say that "let's start with an update to the humanitarian response in Gaza and our efforts to move aid via the humanitarian maritime corridor. The temporary pier is now in place and affixed, and we expect assistance to flow through this route in the coming days".
The temporary pier, part of the humanitarian maritime corridor, is additive to the other routes and will assist humanitarian organizations providing lifesaving assistance, Patel commented.
Aid, which is arriving in Cyprus, will be screened for loading onto ships for delivery to Gaza, where humanitarian organizations, including trusted USAID and US government partners, will determine how to ensure they reach those in need accordance to humanitarian principles, he noted.
Although this is a new mechanism of assistance for Gaza, more, of course, must be done.
Humanitarian conditions on the ground continue to deteriorate, and vital border crossings have closed at a time when moving more aid is critical.
"We are working tirelessly to surge assistance through all available means to address the impacts of this crisis. That's why the US established a humanitarian maritime corridor to augment, not replace, ongoing efforts to scale the delivery of humanitarian aid by land," Patel pointed out.
He elaborated that "so, let me be clear. We continue to press for all border crossings to be open for overland deliveries of aid, but more must be done to address the scale of need.
"We have and will continue to press Israel and other partners in the region to allow for -- to ensure the safety of humanitarian actors and activities, open additional land crossings, and remove impediments to the delivery of humanitarian aid and do more to make sure that aid can get to the places that it needs to go," he said. (end)


Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)

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