Relief agencies have warned that civil order is beginning to break down in Gaza after thousands of desperate people stormed UN-operated warehouses and aid distribution centers, taking wheat flour, hygiene supplies, and other basic survival goods. The incidents follow a 24-hour communication blackout and persistent access challenges. UNRWA and the UN World Food Programme reported that a warehouse in Deir al-Balah was where UNRWA stores supplies from humanitarian convoys from Egypt.
WFP reported that a warehouse contained 80 tons of mixed food commodities, mainly canned food, wheat flour, and sunflower oil, all being stored there ahead of distribution to displaced families. The Director of UNRWA Affairs in the Gaza Strip, Thomas White, said that people are scared, frustrated, and desperate, and that the cuts in phones and internet communication lines have made tensions and fear worse. The displacement of people from the north of the Gaza Strip southward has placed enormous pressure on those communities and added further burden on crumbling public services.
The humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip is insufficient, with only over 80 trucks of aid crossing into the Strip in one week. The current system of convoys is geared to fail due to few trucks, slow processes, strict inspections, supplies that do not match the requirements of UNRWA and other aid organizations, and the ongoing ban on fuel. The needs of communities are immense, if only for basic survival, while the aid received is meager and inconsistent.
UNRWA teams in Gaza have reported that internet services and connections have been restored, and they will reassess the situation to resume convoys and distribution of assistance. WFP Representative and Country Director in Palestine, Samer Abdeljaber, has called for a humanitarian pause to reach people in need with food, water, and basic necessities safely and effectively. The destruction of Gaza’s supply warehouses is a sign of despair, as fuel shortages and connectivity issues threaten to halt humanitarian operations, affecting bakeries and food delivery in the region.
WFP plans to provide food to over one million hungry people, requiring a steady supply of food with at least 40 trucks crossing daily into Gaza. UNRWA, led by Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini, organized a ceremony in Amman to honor the memory of 59 staff members who have lost their lives in Gaza since the crisis erupted on 7 October. The agency expressed the increasing number of colleagues killed and the indescribable suffering from Gaza hourly.