As more than one million Palestinians face starvation across Gaza, reserves of food and medical supplies are even smaller than first feared due to the “blockade imposed by Israel over the last sixty years”, according to leading human rights organisation Amnesty International.

Speaking on GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence podcast, Amnesty’s senior crisis adviser Donatella Rovera said “Gaza was already in a coma” long before Hamas’ deadly attack on 7 October.

“The civilian population, hospitals and humanitarian sector were already surviving in emergency mode,” Rovera said. “There was very little by way of reserves. Whatever coping mechanisms that existed [in Gaza] were quickly exhausted.”

Rovera’s warnings come amid heightened international scrutiny over human rights violations by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) in Gaza.  

Earlier this week, news broke of Israeli protestors slashing lorry tyres and destroying aid bound for Gaza. The group responsible, known as Tsav 9, received intelligence of the convoys’ routes from members of Israel’s security services who are sympathetic to their views, Sky News reported.

Despite strong demands from the top United Nations court and Security Council, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have repeatedly blocked aid deliveries into the decimated and famine-stricken Palestinian territory.

More than 71% of primary healthcare facilities are no longer functional, while 1.7 million people have been internally displaced.

Northern Gaza, where suffering has been most intense, now looks forced to take in thousands more Palestinians displaced from Rafah as the IDF steps up its ground offensive.

“There are hundreds, even thousands of lorries that have been waiting on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing,” Rovera added. “[Some of these supplies] are being spoiled, sitting there for not just weeks but months.”

With the IDF controlling the sea and land borders surrounding Gaza, Rovera’s assertion that the humanitarian crisis “is entirely man-made” rings true.

Turkey, the UAE, Jordan, Tunisia and Qatar have sent numerous aid donations into Gaza so far. India also sent medical and disaster relief to Egypt’s El Arish International Airport.

The US, meanwhile, continues the construction of an aid pier just off Gaza’s coast, which it promises will deliver up to 150 truckloads of supplies. US Central Command said this pier anchored earlier today (16 May).

But food, hygiene material and medicine remain in very short supply. “There is only one reason for that,” Rovera concludes. “The Israeli authorities are not allowing that material in – and that is a tragedy”.