Gaza 'carnage' must end, it cannot continue: UN aid chief Martin Griffiths
His comments came after Israeli forces entered Al-Shifa hospital on Wednesday, targeting what they say is a Hamas command centre in tunnels beneath the patients and the civilians seeking refuge.
The UN humanitarian chief demanded Wednesday immediate action to "rein in the carnage" in Gaza, presenting a plan to help ease the crisis in the Palestinian territory.
"As the carnage in Gaza reaches new levels of horror every day, the world continues to watch in shock as hospitals come under fire, premature babies die, and an entire population is deprived of the basic means of survival," Martin Griffiths said in a statement.
"This cannot be allowed to continue."
He put forward a 10-point plan to help ease the humanitarian catastrophe, calling in particular for a ceasefire.
His comments came after Israeli forces entered Al-Shifa hospital on Wednesday, targeting what they say is a Hamas command centre in tunnels beneath the patients and the civilians seeking refuge there from the fighting.
Earlier Wednesday, Griffiths said on X, formerly Twitter, that he was "appalled by reports of military raids in Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza".
"Hospitals are not battlegrounds."
The carnage in #Gaza cannot be allowed to continue. We keep on seeing new levels of horror every single day.— Martin Griffiths (@UNReliefChief) November 15, 2023
The warring parties must agree to a humanitarian ceasefire and stop the fighting.
Our comprehensive plan to act before it is too late: https://t.co/sxdWZZOENd
Al-Shifa is a key objective in Israel's stated mission to crush Hamas after the Palestinian militant group launched unprecedented cross-border attacks on October 7, killing 1,200 people, mainly civilians, and taking another 239 hostage, according to Israeli officials.
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says Israel's ensuing air and ground offensive has killed 11,320 people, mostly civilians, including thousands of children.
The United Nations estimates that at least 2,300 people -- patients, staff and displaced civilians -- are inside the hospital and may be unable to escape because of fierce fighting.
In his statement, Griffiths stressed that the UN and its partners in Gaza were "committed to responding to the mounting humanitarian needs, guided, as always, by the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence".
"We have the expertise, know-how and most certainly the will," he said.
He urged the parties and those with influence over them to implement his plan.
'Act before too late'
The plan also urges the release of the hostages held by Hamas, and calls on the international community to fully fund a $1.2-billion appeal to address the towering needs in Gaza.
Griffiths stressed the need to "facilitate aid agencies' efforts to bring in a continuous flow of aid convoys and to do so safely".
He asked that additional crossing points be opened for aid and commercial trucks, and for the UN and other humanitarian organisations to be allowed to access sufficient quantities of fuel to deliver aid and provide basic services.
Humanitarian organisations needed to be able to "deliver aid throughout Gaza without impediment or interference," he said.
Griffiths also called for an improved humanitarian notification system to help ensure civilians and civilian infrastructure are spared in the hostilities.
"These are the actions required to rein in the carnage," he said.
"The world must act before it is too late."