Aid organisations say they face difficulties operating as Israel resumes its bombardment of Palestinians in Gaza.
A limited number of aid trucks has managed to enter the besieged Gaza Strip through Egypt after being forced into a holding pattern since a weeklong truce ended and Israel started bombing the enclave again.
“The Palestine Red Crescent crews have now received aid trucks through the Rafah crossing from our partners in the Egypt Red Crescent,” PRCS confirmed in a post on X on Saturday.
The PRCS said it received 50 aid trucks through the Egypt-controlled crossing containing food, water, relief assistance, medical supplies and medicine.
The aid trucks had been unable to enter since Friday when the Israeli military restarted bombing Gaza targets, killing hundreds of Palestinians.
📍 The Palestine Red Crescent teams received 50 aid trucks🚛through the #Rafah crossing today. The trucks contain food, water, relief assistance, medical supplies and medicines.#HumantarianAid #Gaza pic.twitter.com/iyOBf8dHwW
— PRCS (@PalestineRCS) December 2, 2023
No aid convoys or fuel deliveries had entered Gaza since 6pm (16:00 GMT) on Friday, and aid convoys ready to enter Gaza had remained on the Egyptian side of the border, according to the United Nations.
Before the truce that came into effect eight days ago, fewer than 100 trucks were passing into Gaza each day. About 200 trucks entered every day for the duration of the truce.
That is compared with the 500 trucks of aid that were entering the Gaza Strip every day before the war started on October 7, according to the UN, which has said the current flow of aid is no match for the needs of civilians in Gaza.
The main difficulty in getting the trucks inside Gaza lies with an Israeli checkpoint that has been established as part of a system since October 21, when the first aid deliveries started to be allowed in.
The system allows Israel to painstakingly vet every single truck to assuage purported concerns that the humanitarian assistance will find its way into the hands of Hamas.
It obligates drivers to take a round trip of more than 80km (50 miles) from Rafah to a crossing on Egypt’s border with Israel and back, which has caused significant bottlenecks. There, the trucks are thoroughly scanned and searched for anything Israel might deem unfit to enter Gaza – including small kitchen knives.
Hisham Mhanna of the International Committee of the Red Cross told Al Jazeera on Saturday that the continuing fighting in Gaza has made it difficult for aid agencies to operate.
“There should be a complete ceasefire so that the humanitarian aid can help alleviate, even if slightly, the suffering of civilians,” he said, adding that political efforts were needed to ensure a collapse of the humanitarian sector in Gaza could be prevented.
The UN has lobbied for Israel to open the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing near Rafah which used to handle large quantities of goods before the war, but Israel has refused.
“Humanitarian operations within Gaza have largely halted, except for services within shelters and limited distributions of flour in areas south of Wadi Gaza,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its latest report on Saturday.
“The evacuation of wounded people and dual nationals to Egypt, and the return of Gazans stranded in Egypt, have also stopped.”
On Saturday, the Ministry of Health announced that the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza has risen to 15,207, a majority of them women and children, since the war started on October 7.
More than 40,000 people have been wounded in the attacks, it said, adding large numbers of them will die every day due to a lack of treatment options in Gaza hospitals.