Desperate Palestinians fleeing Israel’s increasing ground offensive are pouring into a shrinking area of ​​the Gaza Strip as the war enters its third month.

Tens of thousands of people displaced by the fighting have huddled in the border town of Rafah in the strip’s far south and in Muwasi, a nearby stretch of barren coastline that Israel has declared a security zone.

With shelters significantly overstretched, many people pitched tents on the side of the road from Rafah to Muwasi and lived crammed into unhealthy shelters without enough food.

The United Nations warned on Friday that its relief operation was “in shambles” as no place in the besieged enclave was safe. “We no longer have a humanitarian operation that could bear that name in southern Gaza,” warned UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths.

The World Food Program (WFP) says its ability to provide Gaza with basic needs is on the verge of collapse. “There is not enough food. “People are starving,” WFP deputy director Carl Skau wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after a visit to the coastal strip.

With only a fraction of necessary food reaching the Gaza Strip, there is a lack of fuel and no one is safe, Skau continued in a WFP statement, adding: “We cannot do our work.”

Israel has designated al-Mawasi, on the Mediterranean coast of the besieged area, as a safe zone. But the UN and aid organizations describe this as a poorly planned solution.

Israeli forces have killed more than 17,700 people in Gaza in two months – 70 percent of them women and children – and injured more than 48,780 in two months, according to the territory’s health ministry. Many more are trapped under rubble.

Israel said Hamas militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took more than 240 prisoners in their Oct. 7 attack. About 130 prisoners remain in Gaza, mostly soldiers and civilians, after more than 100 were released, most during a ceasefire last month.

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