The dramatic humanitarian situation in Gaza was the focus of a briefing to the UN Security Council today by Under-Secretary-General Sigrid Kaag, who was appointed UN Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza by the Council last December. Switzerland expressed its deep concern about the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, which continues to cause numerous civilian casualties, and about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. According to the latest independent figures, 95 per cent of the population in the Gaza Strip is facing acute food insecurity. The risk of famine will remain as long as the conflict continues and humanitarian aid is obstructed. The obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law must be strictly respected by all parties. These oblige the parties to allow humanitarian access to civilians in need and prohibit the use of starvation as a method of war. The civilian population must have access to essential goods and services such as clean water, food and electricity. The aid arriving in Gaza is far from sufficient given the immense needs. “This must change urgently," emphasised Switzerland in its statement to the Security Council. It appealed for sufficient aid to reach those in need and called on the parties to the conflict in particular to act accordingly. In New York, Switzerland reiterated the urgency of an immediate ceasefire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. It also emphasised the need to restore a political horizon. Switzerland reiterated its full support for the two-state solution, which is the only basis that can offer the people in the region a life in peace, security and dignity.