Eleven workers with UN refugee agency, five IFRC members killed in Gaza

They include five teachers at UNRWA schools, one gynaecologist, one engineer, one psychological counsellor and three support staff

Published : 11 Oct 2023, 05:21 PM
Updated : 11 Oct 2023, 05:21 PM

Eleven workers with the UN Palestinian refugee agency have been killed in Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip since Saturday, and five members of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent have also been killed in the conflict, the organisations said on Wednesday.

"We are very saddened to confirm that 11 UNRWA colleagues have been killed since 7 October in the Gaza Strip," UNWRA said in a statement.

It did not specify if they were Palestinian or foreign personnel but said they included five teachers at UNRWA schools, one gynaecologist, one engineer, one psychological counsellor and three support staff.

"Some were killed in their homes with their families. UNRWA mourns this loss and is grieving with our colleagues and the families," it said.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said in a separate statement that five of its members - four in Gaza and one in Israel - had been killed.

IFRC said that four Palestine Red Crescent paramedics were killed when their ambulances were hit in two different incidents on Wednesday.

On Saturday, an ambulance driver for Magen David Adom, Israel's national emergency service, lost his life while driving an ambulance to treat the injured, IFRC said.

UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East) also said nearly 175,500 internally displaced people were sheltering in 88 of its schools across Gaza.

"The numbers continue to increase as airstrikes continue from the Israeli Air Forces," it said.

"UNRWA staff are working around the clock to respond to the needs of the displaced in the shelters. However, some are overcrowded and have limited availability of food, other basic items and potable water."

Established in 1949 following the first Arab-Israeli war, UNRWA provides public services including schooling, primary healthcare and humanitarian aid in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

UNRWA said two of its schools had been affected by airstrikes, bringing the number of its facilities impacted by the conflict to 20. All of the schools it runs across the Gaza Strip remain closed.