Gaza war: UNRWA confirms killing of 10 representatives, raising staff death toll to 63

Gaza war: UNRWA confirms killing of 10 representatives, raising staff death toll to 63
The UN agency has announced that a further 10 staff members were killed in Gaza, bringing the total number of killed employees to 63.
2 min read
31 October, 2023
UNRWA Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini [Getty]

The United Nationa's refugee agency for Palestine announced on Tuesday that 10 staff members were killed in recent strikes in Gaza, bringing the total number of workers killed to 63.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) described the situation in the besieged strip as unthinkable and urged for an immediate ceasefire.

"This unfathomable, continuous suffering that unfolds each day must stop now," the agency said in a statement posted on X.

"Amid unimaginable pain, our team continues to serve those in need despite serious risk to their own lives," the statement added.

A memorial ceremony was held on Sunday to honour the 59 UNRWA employees who had lost their lives in Gaza by then, according to an earlier UNRWA post.

Israel has bombarded Gaza since 7 October when Hamas carried out a cross-border attack, killing 1,400 Israelis, and taking many hostages. It follows a wave of raids by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank over the past year.

Israel's relentless bombing campaign has so far killed more than 8,500 Palestinians, including more than 3,540 children, and dozens of medics and journalists.

The Israeli army’s spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, on Saturday announced "expanding its operations", and moving to the "next phase" of the war on Gaza, which includes ground operations.

Gaza's 2.3 million residents are suffering shortages of food, water, fuel, and medicine due to Israel's total blockade of the strip. Warnings from UN relief teams indicate that hunger is already becoming a critical issue in Gaza.

Gazans also endured a telecommunications blackout lasting over 24 hours starting Friday night, which saw them cut off from both external communication and each other.

UNRWA's Operations Director, Tom White, expressed concerns, saying that was an alarming sign of deteriorating civil order after three weeks of conflict and a prolonged siege on Gaza.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has highlighted an urgent need for fuel, which is currently not allowed on aid trucks.

Fuel is crucial for operating vital medical equipment and sustaining essential water and sanitation facilities in Gaza.