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

There has been nothing limited about the suffering and misery that Israel's military operation in Rafah has brought to the people of Gaza.

As feared, it has been a tragedy beyond words. 

The ground incursion in Rafah has displaced more than 800,000 people, fleeing once again in fear for their lives and arriving in areas without adequate shelter, latrines and clean water. 

It has cut off the flow of aid into southern Gaza and crippled a humanitarian operation already stretched beyond its breaking point. 

It has halted food distributions in the south and slowed the supply of fuel for Gaza's lifelines – bakeries, hospitals and water wells – to a mere trickle. 

Though Israel dismissed the international community's appeals to spare Rafah, the global clamor for an immediate stop to this offensive has grown too loud to ignore. 

With today’s adoption of Security Council resolution 2730 calling for the protection of humanitarian workers and the International Court of Justice’s order to open the Rafah crossing to provide aid at scale and stop the military offensive there, this is a moment of clarity. 

It is a moment to demand respect for the rules of war to which all are bound: Civilians must be allowed to seek safety. Humanitarian relief must be facilitated without obstruction. Aid workers and UN staff must be able to carry out their jobs in safety. 

At a time when the people of Gaza are staring down famine; when hospitals are attacked and invaded; when aid organizations are blocked from reaching people in need; when civilians are under bombardment from north to south; it is more critical than ever to heed the calls made over the last seven months: 

Release the hostages. Agree a ceasefire. End this nightmare.