GAZA — All bakeries in northern Gaza have been forced to close due to shortages of vital supplies, a United Nations agency said Wednesday, with desperate civilians struggling to access the daily staple of bread under Israel’s ongoing military offensive.
In a daily update, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said “no bakeries were active in the north, due to the lack of fuel, water and wheat flour, as well as the damage sustained by many.”
Wheat flour is reportedly no longer available in northern Gaza, according to OCHA, which said some people had resorted to desperate measures.
“During the day, many people desperately looking for food broke into the last three bakeries with remaining stocks of wheat flour and took about 38 metric tons,” OCHA said.
Access to bread also remains a challenge in southern Gaza, with the only operative mill in the enclave unable to grind wheat due to a lack of electricity and fuel.
Gaza has been suffering electricity blackouts since October 11 after Israel cut power and fuel supplies, which in turn resulted in the closure of the coastal strip’s only power plant, according to OCHA.
The entry of fuel remains banned by Israeli authorities, who argue that Hamas — the militant Islamist movement that runs Gaza — would steal any fuel entering the strip and use it for military purposes.
According to OCHA, 11 bakeries have been hit and destroyed since October 7 with only one bakery contracted by the World Food Programme and eight other bakeries in southern Gaza intermittently providing bread to shelters.
When bread is available, people queue for long hours where they are exposed to potential Israeli airstrikes, OCHA said.
Around 9,000 tons of wheat grain is stored in mills in Gaza but a significant portion is inaccessible due to destruction and security concerns, coupled with fuel and electricity shortages, it added. — CNN