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World|life|May 3, 2024 / 11:49 AM
10,000 people buried under the rubble in Gaza - UN

AKIPRESS.COM - More than 10,000 people are believed buried under the rubble in Gaza after nearly seven months of devastating conflict, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs  said  on Thursday. Entire neighbourhoods have been levelled amid intense and ongoing Israeli bombardment "across much of the Gaza Strip" from the air, land and sea. The recovery of dead bodies from the debris is a huge challenge, owing to a lack of bulldozers, excavators and personnel. 

It could take up to three years to retrieve the bodies using the primitive tools locals have on hand. Rising temperatures will accelerate the decomposition of bodies, potentially increasing the threat of disease spreading.

UN mine action experts have estimated that some 7,500 tonnes of unexploded ordnance could be "scattered" throughout Gaza which could take up to 14 years to clear. To mitigate the risk for civilians and aid teams in the meantime, the UN Mine Action Service, UNMAS, has issued increasingly urgent appeals for assistance from the international community to remove explosive remnants of war.

UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) chief Catherine Russell said that nearly all of the 600,000 children now sheltering in the southern border city of Rafah are "injured, sick or malnourished".

Following the withdrawal of Israeli troops last month from the southern city of Khan Younis, a UN assessment team mission on April 10 reported that streets and public spaces were littered with unexploded weapons. In addition, 1,000-pound bombs were found "lying on main intersections and inside schools".

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is assessing a damage at some sites and is compiling a map of high-risk areas.

In total there is an estimated 37 million tons of debris in the enclave which likely contains about 800,000 tons of asbestos and other contaminants.

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