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13.02.2024 | Blog

Ensure humanitarian access to the civilian population in Gaza

The escalation of the conflict in the Middle East has resulted in a drastic humanitarian catastrophe.

Eine Lagerhalle mit verschiedenen Hilfsgütern.
The supply of relief items to the population in all affected areas must be ensured (symbol image). © Welthungerhilfe
Simone Pott Team Communications

We call for compliance with international humanitarian law as the humanitarian situation deteriorates throughout the region. In addition to protecting civilians, this means ensuring safe and unhindered access to those in need and allowing sufficient aid to reach the conflict zone. Civilians are suffering most from the ongoing violence. Children, women, the elderly and people with disabilities are particularly in need of assistance.

Humanitarian situation is disastrous: Cease all hostilities

To date, more than 50 percent of Gaza's infrastructure has been destroyed. Heavy rains and flooding are exacerbating the already dire situation. 2.2 million people are at risk of famine, including 939,000 in acute need (source: OCHA). Medical shortages are critical – less than half of hospitals are functioning at capacity (source: WHO).

Out of a total population of about 2.3 million, about 1.9 million people are displaced in Gaza (source: OHCHR). The Palestinian Authority's Rafah Governorate on the border with Egypt alone is currently home to about one million people. The humanitarian situation in the refugee camps is dire. There is a lack of basic necessities such as food and clean water. The only access point for aid, the Rafah border crossing, is tightly controlled by the Israeli and Egyptian authorities and repeatedly closed. Only a fraction of the desperately needed aid is currently reaching the people.

As the war advances further and further towards Rafah, Welthungerhilfe is alarmed by the lack of security and the humanitarian situation of the people.

According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, more than 27,500 people have already been killed in Gaza in the last four months.1 Further fighting in Rafah will cost even more lives. The fighting also continues to hamper the humanitarian response, which remains limited due to security concerns, damaged infrastructure and access restrictions.  

In order to protect people's lives, the fighting must stop immediately and a political solution to the conflict must be sought.

Comply with international humanitarian law and ensure supply of relief items for the population

Humanitarian aid is committed to the principles of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality. Even after Hamas' brutal terrorist attack on Israel and regardless of the current war, the focus must be on the needs of people in distress. The supply of relief items such as food, water, medicine and shelter must be ensured. To do this, humanitarian organizations need rapid and unimpeded access to those in need. Aid workers and civilian infrastructure must not be targeted. Welthungerhilfe is not yet active in Gaza, but has intensified its exchange with partner organizations in the region and is trying to make a contribution in view of the great suffering of the civilian population.

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