MORE than 30,000 Palestinians are dead; 70,000 have been injured. The entire 2.2 million population in Gaza are facing crisis or worse levels of food insecurity. More than 500,000 are at catastrophe levels. Twenty people - including 17 children - have died of malnutrition. One million children are in need of mental health support. More than 300,000 have acute respiratory infections and 200,000 have cases of acute watery diarrhoea.

Meanwhile, Gaza's backbone and life support system – its healthcare system and aid operation - are in tatters.

READ MORE: The National launches fundraiser with Medical Aid for Palestinians

As Israel continues its brutal bombardment of Gaza, aid and medical workers are under immense duress. And yet, they fight on.

Among them is Amal Zaqout (below), Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)’s community programme officer in Gaza.

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The organisation – which The National is supporting with our ongoing fundraising campaign (donate by clicking this link or the banner above) – is one of a few who are still able to provide aid on the ground in Gaza.

“When I began working with MAP, I wanted to focus on improving the lives of women and children in Gaza. I know first hand the kind of challenges that they face in accessing healthcare due to Israel’s blockade,” she said.

“It wasn’t easy – but this was nothing compared to what we’re living through now, where they have absolutely no access to healthcare.”

Of course, civil society in Gaza is far from immune from the effects of Israel’s relentless war on the city. Its 155 health facilities have been damaged, as have 126 ambulances. Gaza’s 12 hospitals are semi-functioning at best and 364 health workers have been killed.

More than 160 others have also been detained by Israel, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

The situation at Nasser Hospital, the largest healthcare facility in the south of Gaza, remains critical. Following the Israeli military’s week-long siege and raid on the hospital in February, it is no longer operational.

A surgeon at Nasser Hospital told MAP last month: “I have lived three days of hell, along with my patients. Fortunately, I have not been arrested, but many of my colleagues have. What happened to doctors, patients and internally displaced people here is unbelievable, even in your worst nightmares.”

Like many aid and medical workers in Palestine, Amal has to face these challenges - as well as those of a single mother with two sons.

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“Life has become unbearably hard. No-one can imagine what we are going through, and as someone who has a family to look after, I am suffering greatly,” she said.

“As a single mother, it’s up to me to provide the basic necessities for my family – food, water, gas, flour, everything. But these things are so hard to find, and when you do, they’re very expensive.”

She added: “It’s difficult to endure. Israel’s total siege and the continuous bombardment on Gaza are severely affecting my life and making it harder and harder. Even talking to my friends is hard, because each one has their own horrible story of what they are going through.

“We lose people every day. People are starving. The situation in Rafah, in the middle area, in the north, is indescribable.  But we have no option than to survive in Gaza. This is my homeland.”

READ MORE: The National supports Medical Aid for Palestinians fundraiser - how to donate

What is the current state of foreign aid into Gaza?

THE UK is joining the US and other allies to create a maritime corridor to deliver aid directly to Gaza, Foreign Secretary David Cameron announced on Friday.

US President Joe Biden also used his State of the Union address on Thursday to announce that American troops would establish a temporary port on the Gaza coast aimed at increasing the flow of aid into the territory.

Cameron tweeted: “People in Gaza are in desperate humanitarian need.

“Alongside the US, the UK and partners have announced we will open a maritime corridor to deliver aid directly to Gaza.

“We continue to urge Israel to allow more trucks into Gaza as the fastest way to get aid to those who need it.”

But this is hardly an immediate fix as Gaza faces an acute need for more aid right now. 

The temporary harbour “will take months to stand up”, Cameron said, as he urged Israel to “promise today” to open its functioning Ashdod Port in the meantime to where aid could be shipped from Cyprus and driven into Gaza.

He told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme it was “incredibly frustrating” that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not heeding calls to open more crossing points, allow more UN staff into Gaza and switch on water and electricity in the territory.

The UK will rule “in the coming days” if Israel is breaking international humanitarian law, he added, who said the judgment would dictate whether Britain stops arms sales to the country.

British aid packages have previously been air-dropped into Gaza in a joint operation with the Jordanian military, but this has not been nearly enough.

Amnesty International UK chief executive Sacha Deshmukh called the maritime aid corridor a “woefully slow response” to the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

He added: “The UK is once again failing to show anywhere near the required level of urgency in how it responds to this calamitous situation.

“Whether or not the seaport scheme goes ahead, the UK should be redoubling its efforts to press Israel into opening existing land crossings for aid deliveries, while also demanding that Israel end its 17-year-long blockade of Gaza, which is an act of collective punishment.

“Lord Cameron must now break the pattern whereby the UK supports piecemeal measures like the seaport project while failing to lead on the bigger picture – which is that the UK is still failing to support an immediate ceasefire, is still allowing arms transfers to Israel, and is still failing to fully support international justice measures.”

Amal, meanwhile, said Palestinians "need the international community to not look away" as well as "keep up pressure on the politicians and to help end this now".

"Please, try and make this end soon because there is just so much suffering. Please don’t forget us. Please be our voice," she said. 

"I hope this ends soon. I hope the world and the international community fight for justice and an immediate ceasefire now for us."