Nearly 1.5 million people in Gaza internally displaced, UN says

A United Nations humanitarian agency says nearly 1.5 million people have been internally displaced in the Gaza Strip and their sanitary environment is deteriorating.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, reported the number on Saturday.

It said more than 710,000 people are sheltering in 149 facilities provided by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, or UNRWA. More than 120,000 others are in hospitals, churches and public buildings, and more than 100,000 are in 89 non-UNRWA schools.

The report said health risks are increasing at the shelters due to the limited availability of fuel to pump water and damage to water and sanitation infrastructure. It added that cases of respiratory infections have been reported.

The OCHA also pointed out that shelters have exceeded their capacity and are unable to accommodate new arrivals in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Many displaced people are said to be sleeping in the street.

The OCHA said an estimated 160,000 displaced people are being housed in 57 UNRWA facilities in the northern part of the strip and Gaza City, but no accurate information is available.