In the Gaza Strip, a “scenario even more out of hell” is taking shape, in which humanitarian operations may not be enough to meet the needs, a UN official warned on Monday, as Israel’s military tightens the belt on the Palestinian pouch.

After hostilities resumed on December 1, following a seven-day ceasefire, “Israeli military operations expanded into southern Gaza, forcing tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in increasingly compressed areas in desperate need of food, water, shelter and security,” Lynn Hastings, UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian Territories, said in a statement.

“The necessary conditions do not exist to distribute aid to the population in Gaza. And if that’s possible, it’s heading for an even more hellish scenario that humanitarian operations will be unable to respond to,” he continued.

“No one is safe in Gaza and you can’t go anywhere,” the Canadian insisted, rejecting in these circumstances the idea of ​​”safe zones” mentioned by the US.

These zones can be “neither safe nor humanitarian when declared unilaterally,” he continued.

“What we see today are shelters with no places, the health system on its knees, a lack of clean and potable water, no sanitation and insufficient food for a population mentally and physically exhausted: a textbook recipe for outbreaks and disaster from the point of view of public health,” he explained, stressing that the humanitarian aid and fuel allowed into the Gaza Strip is far from sufficient.

“The margin for a humanitarian response in Gaza is constantly shrinking,” as two key roads were closed to UN teams and trucks, the Jerusalem-based UN official added.

Ms Hastings’ visa will not be renewed by Israeli authorities, who accuse her of not being “impartial”.

The representative of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, calling for the umpteenth time to declare a “permanent humanitarian ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip, called on the Israeli armed forces to avoid “further actions that could aggravate the already disastrous humanitarian situation in Gaza and to protect civilians from further suffering,” nearly two months after the Israel/Hamas war broke out.