As Israel’s evacuation orders roll out in Southern Gaza, the humanitarian situation in the region will become even more desperate, says Caritas Australia.
“People are being asked to leave their homes in exchange for a temporary shelter where the demand on scarce amenities will be higher as displaced people flood in, and where reports of disease are also on the rise,” said Sally Thomas, Caritas Australia’s humanitarian emergencies lead.
On December 3, an area covering about 20 per cent of Khan Younis city was ordered by leaflet drop to evacuate. The potential population of this area is around 167,000, with those people asked to move to three other overcrowded towns. This was the first of a series of planned evacuations that may last for weeks.
Before Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7, the Gaza Strip was already one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with 2.2 million people living in about 365 square kilometres.
Now, an estimated 1.8 million people are internally displaced, with humanitarian aid having been limited to around 3 per cent of pre-conflict levels and bombardment having disrupted critical infrastructure.
Ms Thomas also drew attention to the concerning reality for vulnerable people. “Evacuation needs to be done via foot or donkey, and for the disabled, the sick, and the elderly that is simply not feasible.”
To support Caritas Australia’s Gaza Appeal, visit www.caritas.org.au/gaza