NEW YORK

Andrea de Domenico, coordinator of humanitarian affairs at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory, reported that 9 out of 10 people in Gaza have been displaced at least once.

Speaking to journalists via an online connection from Jerusalem, De Domenico stressed the serious and ongoing refugee crisis in the region.

De Domenico explained that the UN has had to continually reorganize its humanitarian operations following Israel’s calls for evacuations, including in eastern Khan Younis. He noted: “Like the displaced, we have to continually restart our operations.”

He criticized the ongoing attacks in Gaza, saying: “We have often seen that Israel’s attacks continue even in the so-called safe zones that Israel itself has declared.” He revealed that 247 UN colleagues have lost their lives, many of them killed in the line of duty or at home with their families. “It is time to say stop,” Domenico urged.

The coordinator described the situation in Gaza as people being moved “like pawns on a game board.” He stressed that some individuals had been displaced nearly 10 times in the past nine months, contributing to a constant state of movement and instability. Despite the challenges, he assured that the UN would remain committed to providing assistance in the region.

According to the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, Gaza’s population is 2.3 million. De Domenico stated that an estimated 110,000 people have left Gaza and that some 37,000 have been killed. “Behind these numbers are people with their emotions, fears and hopes,” he noted, emphasizing the human aspect of the crisis.

The UN’s humanitarian aid distribution plan targets 2.1 million people, all of whom are in urgent need of assistance. However, the delivery of aid remains fraught with problems.

De Domenico also spoke about the recent evacuation of the European Hospital in Gaza. Although Israeli officials claimed that they did not demand evacuations of the hospital, de Domenico pointed out that Israel did not share this information in a timely manner. He referred to the recent occupations of the Shifa and Nasser hospitals by Israeli forces, where doctors, patients and nurses were arrested, interrogated and some were later found in mass graves. “Fear prevails,” he noted.

The evacuation of the European hospital, one of the last facilities to provide basic services, marks another significant loss for the region. “This is also gone,” Domenico said, highlighting the dire state of Gaza’s health care system.

In his speech, De Domenico called for an end to the violence and stressed the urgent need for stable and secure humanitarian operations to support the people of Gaza.