How is aid being delivered to Gaza?

1 November 2023

An explanation on 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.

“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 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 United Nations (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. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees have reported that that to date (1 November) 143 trucks have entered Gaza through Rafah, Egypt.  According to the UN at least 100 trucks a day are needed to supply desperately needed – food, water, medicine and fuel.

What is the humanitarian situation in Gaza?

Over 8,500 people have been killed in Gaza, of whom 3,450 are children, as a result of Israel’s retaliatory attacks, according to the Palestinian health ministry (as of 1 November). Many more have been injured and the UN reports that there are more than 1.4 million people in Gaza who are internally displaced, with nearly 672,000 sheltering in 150 United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) facilities. This is over 3 times 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, it 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 UN have said that as of 30 October, only 9 bakeries are operational and able to supply bread to shelters. The shortage of fuel is reported as the reason bakeries are struggling to operate and without it, they warn most bakeries will shut over the next few days. The World Food Programme estimates that current stocks of essential food in Gaza will last for 7 more days but say stock in shops is only likely to last for 5 days.

Doctors have warned they are running desperately low on medical supplies and 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 – they say without it the hospital generators will stop working, generators which are keeping a reported 120 babies in life saving incubators. Fuel is also required to ensure aid that does reach Gaza can be transported to different areas.

Cecile Terraz, Plan International Supply Chain Director, says; “Hundreds of tonnes of necessary supplies from several countries and non-governmental organisations 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 International 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.

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

Plan International Egypt will purchase and prepare the items and deliver them to the Egyptian Red Crescent warehouses. After that Egyptian Red Crescent will deliver these items to Palestine Red Crescent for use and distribution.

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

Emergencies, Disaster relief