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Mladenov: Situation in Gaza still very fragile

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said Tuesday that despite the relative calm over the past two months, the situation in Gaza remains very fragile as violent incidents continue.

Speaking at a Security Council meeting on the Middle East, Mladenov warned Israel to calibrate its use of force, and use lethal force only as a last resort when dealing with Gazan protesters or citizens on the border.

The UN official also highlighted the health situation in Gaza, which he described it as a “crisis.”

“I am afraid that I also have to raise the alarm on the deteriorating situation in the health sector in Gaza, particularly the lack of resources, including medical supplies. According to WHO, in July, 254 items (or 49 per cent) of essential medications and 225 items (or 26 per cent) of medical disposables were reported to be at less than one-month supply at Gaza’s Central Drug Store,” he said.

“On the 20th August, Deputy Special Coordinator McGoldrick visited a hospital in Gaza and met with a group of women beneficiaries of projects supported by the UN Humanitarian Fund. He heard about the large number of health issues that Palestinian women are facing as a result of the humanitarian crisis. Doctors highlighted the scarcity of cancer drugs in Gaza and the unpredictable referral system for treatment outside Gaza as serious challenges.”

“The UN is committed to working with all parties, including donors, to prevent a health crisis in the Gaza Strip,” he added.

He also talked about the recent Israeli reduction of fuel supplies to the Gaza power plant in response to projectile attacks on Israeli areas, calling it an unfortunate decision that resulted in a significant decrease in hours of power supply.