Besides the number of lives lost, several people are trapped under rubble

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday pleaded for an immediate end to the violence between Hamas and Israeli forces. The UNSC at a meeting on Sunday said the conflict could plunge into an ‘uncontainable’ crisis.

“Fighting must stop. It must stop immediately,” Guterres told AFP. He went on to say that the conflict was ‘utterly appalling’. The violence has so far claimed over 200 lives.

On Sunday itself, the clash claimed 40 Palestinian lives.

The bombarding has affected power lines, the drainage and sewage system and has human waste spilling onto the streets in Gaza. Besides the number of lives lost, several people are trapped under rubble. “There are some border areas completely cut off from electricity,” Mohammed Thabet, a spokesperson for the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company told the Guardian.

Analysts fear that the situation, at the strip, where about 2 million people have been living under the Israeli-Egypt blockade for 14 years could turn into a deep humanitarian crisis.

“It has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism, not only in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel but in the region as a whole,” Gutteres said.

“This senseless cycle of bloodshed, terror and destruction must stop immediately,” he added, criticising the strike on Saturday, that destroyed offices of news agencies like Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

Israel launched its air offensive after Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza, began firing rockets in response to the Jewish state's moves in Jerusalem. Through the offensive launched by Israel, Israeli authorities have blocked access to the area, blocking fuel supply or aid workers from entering. This has also resulted in the blockade of vital animal feed, which could result in poultry farms running out and an eventual food shortage.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Israelis have also been preventing fishermen from Gaza to head out to the seas and bombed farms.

“Leaders on all sides have a responsibility to curb inflammatory rhetoric and calm the rising tensions,” Guterres said.

Adding to the crisis, the region of also fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. There is the fear of a second wave. Only 5 per cent of people in Palestinian territories have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and West Bank, accounted for more than 60% of active cases of COVID-19 in the Palestinian territories. According to the UN, about 10,000 people have left their homes as they fear that ground attacks may begin eventually. People have sought refuge in schools run by run by the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).