The lack of aid is creating starvation conditions in the north, according to small U.N. scouting teams that have managed to enter the area in recent weeks.

Residents living amid the rubble say they have scoured every inch of the area for food.“Without mercy, we have begun to feed on the grass of the ground,” Yousri al-Ghoul, 43, told The Washington Post in a phone interview Thursday.

He was among a swelling crowd of Gazans that began gathering late Wednesday on Gaza City’s al-Rashid Street. They had read reports on Telegram or heard by word of mouth that a convoy was heading for the Nabulsi traffic circle on the street. But no one knew when exactly it was due to arrive or seemed able to say who was sending the aid.