Lynn Hastings, humanitarian aid coordinator for the United Nations, said on Sunday that Gaza is currently experiencing an unprecedented “inhumane” situation following the Israeli bombing and the siege.
“There are no precedents. Anyone who has followed this occupation and conflict for so many decades will see this as a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented scale. As I said, the events of Oct. 7 and the Hamas attacks were absolutely abhorrent. But this attack on Gaza is catastrophic and unprecedented,” she said Oct. 15.
Number of deaths, injuries increasing at alarming rate
Since the beginning of the conflict, approximately 1,300 Israeli citizens have been reported dead, and more than 3,200 have been injured.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health, for its part, has indicated that as of Monday, Oct. 16, there are a total of 2,808 Palestinians dead and 10,859 injured in the Gaza Strip.
More than 1 million people, equivalent to almost half of Gaza’s total population, have been forced to leave their homes. According to UNRWA, some 500,000 Palestinians have sought refuge in its facilities, and they can no longer cope.
The U.N. reported Oct. 16 that “the death toll is rising” and that “there aren’t enough body bags in Gaza.”
Catholic Church’s position regarding the war
Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, condemned Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel, called for peace in the Holy Land, and said that he is “ready for any necessary mediation.”
The cardinal told Vatican News on Oct. 13 that the Hamas attacks were “inhumane” and that the Holy See expressed “complete and firm condemnation.”
Pope Francis has also condemned the war, has shown his closeness to the victims “who are experiencing hours of terror and anguish,” and has called for the end of the fighting in the Holy Land.
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“Please stop the attacks and weapons, and understand that terrorism and war do not bring any solution, but only death and suffering for many innocent people,” the pope said Oct. 8, pointing out that “war is a failure: every war is a failure” and urging prayer “for peace in Israel and Palestine.”
Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, on behalf of all the Catholic ordinaries of the Holy Land, called for a day of prayer, fasting, and abstinence for peace on Oct. 17.
On Oct. 16, the cardinal offered to be exchanged for the children held hostage by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Christians in Gaza take refuge inside parish
Parolin also said during a recent interview that he feels special concern for Christians in Israel and Palestine, noting that many of the faithful of the small Catholic community in Gaza have taken refuge in the only Catholic church in the enclave, Holy Family Parish.
So far in the Christian community — a minority of about 1,000 people — no deaths or injuries have been reported.