NEW YORK - The UN estimates that over 810,000 people have fled Rafah in the past two weeks.

Global uproar calling for an end to the Israeli incursion in Rafah “has grown too loud to ignore”, UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator Martin Griffiths said on Friday, in a fresh appeal for a ceasefire in Gaza and the release of all hostages.

“With today’s adoption of Security Council resolution 2730 calling for the protection of humanitarian workers and the International Court of Justice’s order to open the Rafah crossing to provide aid at scale and stop the military offensive there, this is a moment of clarity,” he said in a statement.

“It is a moment to demand respect for the rules of war to which all are bound: Civilians must be allowed to seek safety. Humanitarian relief must be facilitated without obstruction. Aid workers and UN staff must be able to carry out their jobs in safety.”

More than a million people were sheltering in Rafah, located in southern Gaza, before the start of the offensive on 6 May.

Mr. Griffiths said the ground incursion “has been a tragedy beyond words”, displacing more than 800,000 people who are fleeing once again and arriving in areas that lack adequate shelter, latrines and clean water.

“It has cut off the flow of aid into southern Gaza and crippled a humanitarian operation already stretched beyond its breaking point,” he said.

Food distributions in the south have been halted, while fuel supply for “Gaza’s lifelines – bakeries, hospitals and water wells”, has slowed to a mere trickle.

Heed the call

“Though Israel dismissed the international community's appeals to spare Rafah, the global clamor for an immediate stop to this offensive has grown too loud to ignore,” he said, referring to the developments at the Security Council and the UN’s top court on Friday.

“At a time when the people of Gaza are staring down famine; when hospitals are attacked and invaded; when aid organizations are blocked from reaching people in need; when civilians are under bombardment from north to south; it is more critical than ever to heed the calls made over the last seven months: Release the hostages. Agree a ceasefire. End this nightmare.”