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World News In Brief: Rafah Escalation Fears, Gaza War’s Unprecedented Death Rate, Pakistan Terrorist Attacks Condemned

The unprecedented population density in Rafah in southern Gaza makes it nearly impossible to protect civilians in the event of ground attacks, the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, warned on Friday.

More than half of Gaza’s population of over two million is now crammed into the city, which is located on the border with Egypt and originally home to some 250,000 people.

Congestion has reached a point where normal routes are blocked by tents set up by families seeking any flat, clean space available, OCHA said.

Garbage mounting, basics lacking

In the past three months, Rafah has produced the equivalent of a year’s worth of garbage, according to municipal authorities. Furthermore, the scarcity of food, clean water, health services and sanitation facilities have led to the outbreak of preventable diseases as well as deaths.

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Jamie McGoldrick, said that fuel, generators and spare parts are urgently needed to improve people’s access to clean water, noting that the southern Gaza desalination plant is only working at up to 15 per cent of its original capacity.

Humanitarians estimate that about 100,000 families in Gaza need shelter support, including tents for winter weather and other supplies.

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They have distributed some 40,000 tents since the start of the war on 7 October, with 28,000 more in the pipeline.

Unprecedented scale of death in Gaza: UN report

The Gaza conflict is unfolding in a way that makes it the most severe episode in the 56-year Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, a UN regional body said in a report on Friday.

More than one per cent of the Gazan population was killed during the first 100 days of the war, according to the policy brief by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

“No other armed conflict in the twenty-first century has experienced such a devastating impact on a population in such a short timeframe. To find a 100-day period with greater bloodshed, it is necessary to go back to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda,” it said.

Although Gaza has suffered previous military escalations, ESCW said the war stands out as unprecedented in the scale of death, destruction, and human suffering it has incurred, with repercussions that will echo for generations.

“The unprecedented impact of the current war on Gaza demands a transformative shift in addressing mounting immediate needs, reevaluating long-term systemic challenges to relief efforts, and confronting the root causes of the conflict,” said Rola Dashti, the ESCWA Executive Secretary.

Security Council condemns pre-election terrorist attacks in Pakistan

The UN Security Council has condemned in the strongest terms the deadly “heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks” in Pakistan on Wednesday.

At least 26 people were killed, and dozens more wounded, in twin bombings in Pishin and Qila Saifullah, Balochistan, on the eve of the country’s parliamentary elections.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility, according to international media reports.

In a statement on Thursday, Council members expressed their deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Pakistan and wished a speedy and full recovery to the injured.

They underlined the need to hold accountable those who perpetrate, organize, finance and sponsor “these reprehensible acts of terrorism” and bring them to justice.

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