00:17 GMT04 August 2021
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Liudmila Chernova - UNICEF is helping with medical supplies in Gaza but more aid is needed amid the escalated tensions between Israel and the enclave, Middle East and North Africa regional Chief of Communications Juliette Touma told Sputnik.

    "What we are doing right now is we are giving supplies, medical supplies. And this is what we need more - to mobilise medical supplies for the health centres in Gaza", Touma said.

    Gaza has 13 hospitals, she said, and the health system has been overwhelmed because of the Сovid-19 pandemic.

    “And so now the violence comes to add to the overwhelmed health system on the ground”, she said.  "The hospitals in general have been overwhelmed because of the covid-19 pandemic. So this comes to make it a burden double".

    Touma also noted that UNICEF has been on the ground in Gaza for many years now and throughout the different conflicts that have taken place in the area.

    “We have been on the ground and we have an office and the team - mostly Palestinians who are based in the Gaza Strip”, she said. “Right now, our focus is going to be on providing medical supplies and on working on the clean water and sanitation. And of course, at some point we will start providing psychosocial assistance to children who have been impacted, who are, of course, understandably shocked because of the violence".

    UNICEF will continue to assess the situation as the days go by to see what the needs are on the ground so they are ready to respond with assistance.

    Touma went on to say that UNICEF is not alone on the ground, as there is a number of humanitarian partners who work in Gaza.

    “They have been there also for decades, working side to side with the medical associations and medical non-governmental organisations. And so they are working night and day to provide help to those who got injured,  medical help”, she said.

    The fiercest flareup since 2014 has sparked communal violence in mixed Arab-Jewish cities and spilled over to the West Bank. Since Monday evening, around 1,800 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, which responded by launching strikes against Hamas.

    UNICEF, Gaza, Israel, escalation
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