Gaza’s Grim Milestone: 100 Days of Unrelenting Humanitarian Crisis

Image credit: Mohammed Ibrahim
A photojournalist from the Gaza

In a heart-wrenching statement, Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), has declared the past 100 days in Gaza as one of the most severe humanitarian crises faced by any civilian population in this century. The relentless bombardment has created a devastating toll, leaving a trail of destruction, displacement, and despair.

Since the initial attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians, followed by the indiscriminate Israeli bombardment of Gaza, the casualties have been staggering. A reported 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, along with over 23,000 Palestinians, have lost their lives. The most heart-wrenching statistic is the death of more than 10,000 Palestinian children, surpassing the child casualties in all other recent global conflicts. Gaza has become a tragic testament to the immense suffering endured by its people.

The Israeli bombardment has laid waste to civilian areas, prompting the displacement of nearly the entire population of Gaza, around 2.1 million Palestinians. Civilians were given a false sense of safety by relocating from the north to the south, only to find themselves subjected to heavy bombardment once again. In this harrowing situation, nowhere in Gaza seems safe.

Compounding the crisis, winter weather and the spread of infectious diseases are exacerbating the impact on Gaza’s already shattered healthcare system. With the system on the brink of collapse, the risk of further massive loss of life looms large over the region.

Jan Egeland, speaking from personal experience, reveals that many NRC staff and their families are now homeless, shifting from being providers of hope and life-saving assistance to becoming entirely dependent on aid themselves. Joining the thousands living on the streets in southern Gaza, they are forced to improvise shelters from whatever materials they can find.

The NRC has consistently condemned Hamas’ assault and has called for the immediate release of all hostages. Simultaneously, Egeland urges the international community to demand a halt to the brutal Israeli offensive that renders Gaza unlivable and threatens to escalate the conflict in the wider region.

Despite the dire situation, Israel continues to severely restrict the delivery of life-saving aid, leaving hundreds of thousands of Palestinians without access to essential medical care, food, and clean water. For over three months, the suffering of innocent Palestinians in Gaza has been broadcast worldwide. Yet, world leaders have failed to prevent the immense civilian suffering despite promises from countries supporting the Israeli assault.

As we mark 100 days since the warfare in, on, and from Gaza began, the situation remains bleak:

  • The bombardment persists with indiscriminate ferocity.
  • There is still no escape for the civilian population.
  • Real access and operational space for humanitarian work remain elusive.
  • Hospitals are on the verge of collapse.
  • Supplies of water, food, electricity, and other necessities for human life are woefully insufficient.
  • Civilians are facing the harsh reality of starvation.

The besieged population of Gaza, teetering on the brink of famine, represents a stain on Israel and on nations providing arms and political support. In this desperate time, an immediate and sustained ceasefire stands as the only hope to halt the hemorrhaging of human life and resume life-saving relief efforts across Gaza.

Egeland emphasizes that neither the lives of innocent civilians on both sides nor the delivery of urgent humanitarian aid should be used as bargaining chips. The madness must stop, and the international community must act decisively to end this tragic chapter in Gaza’s history.