How is aid being delivered to Gaza?

An explainer on the aid trucks going into Gaza from Egypt and the current humanitarian and aid situation in Gaza, the critical need for essential supplies such as food and water, who has been able to send aid into Gaza and how it crosses the border.

Statistics correct as of 18 December 2023.

Plan Egypt staff stand in front of a truck loaded with relief supplies for Gaza.
In response to the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Plan International is supporting the Egyptian Red Crescent to deliver much-needed supplies to children in Gaza and their families. Photo credit: Plan International / Omar Jihad

What is the situation on aid arriving in Gaza?

Following the attack on Israel on 7 October where 1,400 people were killed, all cross-border delivery of aid and supplies into Gaza was stopped. The UN have reported that before the latest escalation in violence that around 500 trucks a day would enter Gaza with much needed supplies and that around 100 of these trucks were delivering aid.  

On 21 October, some aid deliveries were allowed to resume but nowhere near the required amount. According to the UN at least 100 trucks a day are needed to supply desperately needed – food, water, medicine, fuel

Inside Gaza the United Nations ability to receive aid is being hampered by a shortage of trucks within Gaza. In addition to a lack of vehicles the shortage of fuel, telecommunications blackouts and the difficulty that UN staff are facing in trying to reach Rafah safely are adding to the challenges. The UN have said that as well as aid and fuel they need more capacity inside Gaza to handle incoming aid. 

“Aid can enter through the Rafah crossing – the only passage from Gaza that is not controlled by Israel and a vital link between Gaza and the rest of the world.”

Cecile Terraz, Plan International supply chain Director

What is the humanitarian situation in Gaza?

Over 18,500 people have been killed in Gaza, of whom 7,729 are children, as a result of Israel’s retaliatory attacks, according to the Palestinian health ministry (as of 11 December). Over 50,500 people have been injured and the UN reports that there are more than 1.9 million people in Gaza who are internally displaced, with nearly 1.3 million people sheltering in 155 UNRWA facilities, far over their intended capacity. 

With the damage to homes, services and infrastructure the need for aid and supplies is greater than ever before.  A spokesperson from the World Health Organisation has described the situation as ‘an imminent public health catastrophe’. 

What kind of aid is needed?

Clean drinking water in Gaza is scarce, meaning not only is there a risk of people inside Gaza becoming dehydrated and sick, but it also means it is hard to maintain safe hygiene and sanitation levels.  

The water supply infrastructure inside Gaza is damaged and there are reports people are drinking saline groundwater, increasing the risk of water-borne illnesses such as cholera and diarrhoea. 

Food is in short supply, the World Food Programme (WFP) reports that on average a person in Gaza must wait between 4 – 6 hours to receive half a normal bread portion.  The WFP have found that 97% of households in northern governorates of Gaza are dealing with inadequate food consumption and 48% are suffering from severe levels of hunger. In Northern Gaza 9 out 10 people reported spending at least one full day and night without food

Plan staff are packing boxes with relief aid for Gaza.
Plan Egypt staff prepare relief aid for Gaza. Photo credit: Plan International / Omar Jihad

Doctors have warned they are running desperately low on medical supplies that they are performing procedures without anaesthetic and are only able to treat critical patients.  

As well as medicine the hospitals and UN are urgently appealing for Israel to allow fuel into Gaza – those hospitals that are still operational warn that without fuel the hospital generators will stop working. 

Cecile Terraz, Plan International supply chain Director, says; “Hundreds of tonnes of necessary supplies from several countries and NGOs have lined up in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula just south of Gaza. 

Aid can enter through the Rafah crossing – the only passage from Gaza that is not controlled by Israel and a vital link between Gaza and the rest of the world.” 

What is Plan International doing?

Although Plan International does not operate in Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank, we have a longstanding presence in a number of surrounding countries, including Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. In any emergency, we always work closely with partners to ensure humanitarian support is delivered effectively at speed. Currently, at the request of the government of Egypt, the Egyptian Red Crescent are co-ordinating cross-border aid into Gaza via Egypt using the crossing at the border in Rafah.  

Plan International Egypt is working closely to support the Egyptian Red Crescent, supplying essential relief materials – such as first aid kits, water and food.  

The lack of fuel means it is hard for people in Gaza to heat food, so rather than the typical dried foods that Plan International would typically use in this type of situation we are instead sending non-perishable food that doesn’t require heating.  

Plan staff loading a box filled with canned food for Gaza.
Due to a lack of fuel, non-perishable food that doesn’t require
heating is being sent to Gaza.
Photo credit: Plan International / Omar Jihad  

Plan International has partnered with the humanitarian organisation, Terre des Hommes, who do have a preexisting presence inside Gaza and will be working closely with them to support their aid efforts inside Gaza, whilst our Plan offices in the region are also exploring ways to get in other much needed items, such as dignity kits (which include sanitary towels and underwear) and clothes for children but currently medical supplies, food and water are being prioritised.  

In Lebanon our office is supporting displaced people from the south of the country who have been forced to move out of their homes whilst cross border attacks occur in the area. Plan Lebanon have been providing cash assistance for people who have to rent temporary accommodation and mattresses to those residing in shelters.   

Who has been able to send aid into Gaza and how does it cross the border?

Plan International Egypt has purchased and prepared items for delivery to the Egyptian Red Crescent who will then deliver these items to the Palestine Red Crescent for use and distribution to people inside Gaza. 

In addition to the Egyptian Red Crescent there have also been trucks from UNICEF, the World Health Organisation, UNFPA, the Qatari government, the Tunisian Government, the Egyptian Ministry of Health and the World Food Programme.  

Emergencies, Disaster relief