UN: Damage, destruction in Gaza "immense"

Published July 15th, 2014 - 04:00 GMT

The United Nations' agency for Palestinian refugees told reporters that the damage in Gaza is "immense" from a weeklong Israeli air campaign that continued Tuesday, according to Agence France Presse.

"The level of human losses and destruction in Gaza is really immense. According to our latest figure, we are talking about 174 killed and well over 1,100 injured. This number will increase. The numbers are increasing by hours," " UNWRA spokesman Sami Mshasha told reporters.

By Tuesday evening the death toll from the strikes, that has killed many women and children as well, rose to 192, according to local officials based in Gaza.

Over 560 homes have also been destroyed from the strikes, as well as 47 UNRWA facilities.

More than 17,000 Palestinians have found shelter in UN operated schools in the Strip. Mshasha told reporters that Israeli authorities have been alerted to the GPS coordinates of the schools. 

Israel initially announced Tuesday that it had accepted an Egyptian ceasefire plan, but then resumed strikes in mid-afternoon after Hamas continued to shoot retaliatory rockets. 

The continued fighting is thus likely to exacerbate the already desperate situation in the Strip where hundreds of thousands of people are without water, according to Mshasha and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

"Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza are now without water. Within days, the entire population of the Strip may be desperately short of water," said Jacques de Maio, the head of ICRC's operations in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

"Water and electrical services are also affected as a result of the current hostilities. If they do not stop, the question is not if but when an already beleaguered population will face an acute water crisis," he added.

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