November 19th, 2023 (Amman, Jordan): “I watched with sheer horror reports from an attack on the al-Fakhoura UNRWA school-turned-shelter in northern Gaza. It is just cruel,” said UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini
“Classrooms sheltering displaced families were hit and at least 24 people were reported killed in the strike. Up to 7,000 people were in the school at the time. This is the second time that this school is hit. On 4 November, at least 12 people were killed and 54 injured.
“In less than 24 hours, two UNRWA schools sheltering displaced families were hit in the Gaza Strip.
“On Friday 17 November, another UNRWA school “Al-Falah/Zeitoun” in Gaza City was directly struck, leaving scores of people killed and injured. Up to 4,000 people were in the school at the time. Ambulances could not reach the school to provide help.
“This is yet another proof that no one, and nowhere is safe in Gaza. Once again, shelters meant to provide safety and protection to civilians have been hit, killing many people, including children. These acts not only blatantly contravene the rules of war, they also show a total disregard for humanity.
“Since the war began, at least 176 people sheltering in UNRWA facilities were reported killed and nearly 800 were reported injured during Israeli Forces’ bombardment. UNRWA is unable to confirm the casualty figures and is verifying. UNRWA confirms that at least 17 of its facilities were directly hit.
“The large number of UNRWA facilities hit and the number of civilians killed cannot just be “collateral damage”. Most of the facilities hit had families in them including older people, parents, and children. They were all clearly marked as UN buildings carrying a blue flag. UNRWA shares the coordinates of these buildings on a regular basis with parties to the conflict. This vicious war is reaching a point of no return when all rules are disrespected, in overt disregard for civilian lives. I call and appeal once again for humanity to prevail and for a humanitarian ceasefire right now”.
- As of 18 November, UNRWA was able to verify that 85 incidents have impacted 67 UNRWA installations since the beginning of the war. Of these, 17 were directly hit.
- Based on information available at the time of reporting, there have been five Israeli Forces’ incursions into UNRWA installations since the beginning of the war.
- Over half of the impacted installations are south of Wadi Gaza.
- In total, 104 UNRWA colleagues have been killed since the beginning of the war. This is the highest number of United Nations aid workers killed in a conflict in the history of the United Nations. At least half have been killed south of Wadi Gaza.
- Nearly 900,000 displaced people are sheltering in UNRWA facilities across the Gaza Strip. This is six times more than what UNRWA planned for under a worst-case scenario.
Image by Eyad al-Baba – UNRWA, UNICEF