The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
“Critical infrastructure is collapsing in Gaza"
Statement by Jorge Moreira da Silva, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director, on the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Over the past month, the world has watched immense human suffering unfolding in Gaza and Israel. I echo the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ condemnation - in the strongest possible terms - of the attacks committed one month ago today against civilians in Israel. But even wars have laws and we call for the upholding of international humanitarian and human rights law at all times.
This devastating conflict has now claimed 1,400 lives in Israel, and more than 10,000 Palestinian lives, two-thirds of them women and children.
The United Nations family has now lost more colleagues in this conflict than any other conflict before. This makes the delivery of aid even more dangerous and difficult.
Our priority now must be an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. I reiterate calls for urgent humanitarian aid- in sufficient quantities- entering Gaza, including fuel. I can only emphasize that civilians and the infrastructure they rely on – including hospitals, shelters and schools – must be protected.
The facts are stark.
Recent UN reports reflect a harrowing reality: Nearly half of Gaza's buildings have been damaged or destroyed, leaving a landscape of ruin where homes and schools once stood. The healthcare system is in a state of collapse, with over a third of hospitals non-functional and the remaining ones are rationing fuel, supplies, space, and medicine.
A staggering 92 per cent drop in water consumption from pre-conflict levels underscores the collapse of a once-functioning water network. With the vast majority of sewage stations now inoperative, the people of Gaza face a water and sanitation crisis of catastrophic proportions.
The decimation of road networks compounds the crisis. Without roads, the vital arteries of support cannot function. Amidst the ruins there is little critical infrastructure left to power. Yet with such vast humanitarian needs and with the limited infrastructure still in operation, fuel remains essential to save lives.
UNOPS has previously supported several projects in the energy sector in Gaza, including the installation of solar on health facilities and the daily delivery of fuel to the power plant in Gaza. UNOPS has also supported the sustainable rehabilitation of the infrastructure in Gaza.
Our experience as a UN organization focused on infrastructure, underscores the urgency of restoring Gaza's infrastructure to support the lives hanging in the balance. To stop further devastation and human suffering, we need a humanitarian ceasefire, now.