Gaza Death Toll Close to 24,000 as Israeli Assault Enters 100th Day

The UN says the crisis in Gaza is a man-made disaster where food, water and fuel have been deliberately used as instruments of war.

Gaza Death Toll Close to 24,000 as Israeli Assault Enters 100th Day

The number of Palestinians in Gaza killed as a result of the Israeli bombing campaign has reached at least 23,968 per the report issued on Sunday by the Ramallah based ministry of health. Of the total, more than 10,400 children and 7,100 are women, making up 70% of the fatalities.

The ministry stated that their data assessment remains incomplete due to almost 8000 Gazans missing under the rubble, ongoing bombardment and disconnection in communication.

Israel launched a military offensive on Gaza after October 7, following Hamas-led attacks on Israel, and has bombed the besieged Strip for 100 days, displacing 85% of the residents, which the UN says is the largest forced displacement of Palestinians since 1948. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed every day of the ongoing war since October 7 per human rights defenders. 

The number of injured Palestinians has crossed 61,000. Amidst the humanitarian crisis, due to the cessation of water supplies, fuel shortage and electricity shutdown, the healthcare sector has been hit hard. Only 15 hospitals of the total 36 are partially functional in Gaza, and six ambulances are working. Healthcare and civil defence teams have also been killed in the dozens in the ongoing assault. In a statement on January 12, UNICEF stated that Gaza’s children are dying “at an alarming rate” and are “running out of time.” 

“With every passing day, children and families in the Gaza Strip face increased risk of death from the sky, disease from lack of safe water, and deprivation from lack of food,” said UNICEF Special Representative Lucia Elmi.  

The UN and Palestinian ministries have maintained that the aid to Gaza is “insufficient,” contrary to Israel’s claims. In a statement to mark 100 days of war, the UNRWA chief Phillipe Lazzarini emphasised that “an entire generation of children is traumatized and will take years to heal. Thousands have been killed, maimed, and orphaned. Hundreds of thousands are deprived of education. Their future is in jeopardy, with far-reaching and long-lasting consequences.”

He further added that the Gaza crisis is a “man-made disaster” exacerbated by “dehumanizing language,” and that water, food and fuel have been used as instruments of war by Israel. The UN has repeatedly stated that the threat of famine is looming, and the humanitarian operation has been made the most complex in the world.

The Ministry of Health has also reported an acute shortage of health supplies and medicines, and a surge in outbreak of diseases including 136,418 cases of diarrhoea, 55,742 cases of scabies and lice, 38,010 of skin rashes, 5,330 cases of chickenpox, 4,683 of jaundice. Both the MOH and UN report a rise in respiratory diseases. At least 360,000 cases of infectious diseases are reported by the MOH amidst vaccines going out of stock.

The South of Gaza, which was previously declared safe, remains congested with the displaced and is getting hit by airstrikes. As of December 30, at least 65,000 housing units were fully destroyed and 290,000 were damaged partially per the PA ministry. The UN special rapporteur for adequate housing has called the deliberate destruction of houses a “domicide”.  

Repeated communication disruption over the past 100 days has hindered the rescue and aid work, per the UN and other human rights monitors. The internet observatory NetBlocks tweeted on Sunday that the Gaza Strip has been offline for 48 hours. 

On Saturday, Paltel Co, the sole internet service provider for Gaza tweeted that two of their colleagues were killed while restoring communication service. 

In addition to communication disruptions, journalists both from mainstream, digital and citizen media have been killed repeatedly. At least 107 journalists are killed according to Palestinian Journalists Syndicate. A cameraman of Egypts’ Al-Ghad TV, Yazan Zweidi, was killed in the North of Gaza on Sunday, adding to the already unparalleled death toll of journalists.