Conditions in the city are grim, with little access to running water or sanitation. People are sleeping in the open, and aid workers have largely stopped distributing water and flour because of the intensity of the fighting and Israeli bombardments, U.N. officials have said.
More than 20,000 people have taken refuge at a training center in the city that is designed to shelter one-tenth of that number, according to the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Gazans are being pushed into an area that covers less than one-third of the enclave, according to the United Nations.
“The level of human suffering is intolerable,” the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Mirjana Spoljaric, who visited Gaza on Monday, said in a statement. She added: “It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza, and with a military siege in place there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said that the Israeli military had told the agency on Monday to “remove our supplies from our medical warehouse in southern Gaza within 24 hours, as ground operations will put it beyond use.” He said he was appealing to Israel to withdraw the order.
Israel disputed that account. A spokesman for its military, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, accused Dr. Tedros of “distributing fake news.”
Fighting resumed in Gaza after Israel and Hamas could not agree on further exchanges of hostages seized during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel and Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, according to Israeli and Hamas officials.
Speaking at a news conference on Monday, a State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, blamed Hamas, saying the group had broken its promise to release all the women and children it was holding among the approximately 240 hostages.
Mr. Miller said one of the reasons “a number of people believe they refused to release them is they didn’t want people to hear what those women would have to say publicly.”
Pressed by a reporter, he said that he was voicing speculation, and that he was “not able to speak with a definitive assessment that that is the case.” He added, however, that, “We hope they will change their mind and release those women.”
Reporting was contributed by Isabel Kershner, Vivian Yee, Matthew Mpoke Bigg, Courtney Brooks, Iyad Abuheweila, Abu Bakr Bashir, Peter Baker, Talya Minsberg, Karoun Demirjian, Arijeta Lajka, Edward Wong and Alexander Cardia.