As crisis enters fifth month, further fighting in Rafah risks claiming more lives and exacerbating humanitarian needs

Statement by Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

(Geneva, 7 February 2024) With the Gaza hostilities entering their fifth month, hope is dwindling for the millions of people affected and the humanitarians striving to assist them.

More than half of Gaza’s population is now crammed in Rafah, a town of originally 250,000 people right on Egypt’s doorstep. Their living conditions are abysmal — they lack the basic necessities to survive, stalked by hunger, disease and death.

As the war encroaches further into Rafah, I am extremely concerned about the safety and well-being of families which have endured the unthinkable in search of safety.

More than 27,500 people in Gaza have already been killed over the past four months, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health. Further fighting in Rafah risks claiming the lives of even more people. It also risks further hampering a humanitarian operation already limited by insecurity, damaged infrastructure and access restrictions.

To put it simply: This war must stop.