GAZA: The UN World Food Programme delivered desperately needed food to more than 120,000 people in Gaza during the initial pause in fighting but has reiterated that the supplies it was able to provide were woefully inadequate to address the level of hunger seen by staff in the UN shelters and communities.
“Thanks to the pause, our teams have been in action on the ground, going into areas we haven’t reached for a long time. What we see is catastrophic. There’s a risk of famine and starvation on our watch and to prevent it, we need to be able to bring in food at scale and distribute it safely,” said Corinne Fleischer, WFP’s director for the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe. “Six days is simply not enough to provide all the assistance needed. The people of Gaza have to eat every day, not just for six days.”
Samer Abdeljaber, WFP Palestine representative and country director, said: “Our team recounted what they saw: hunger, desperation, and destruction. People who have not received any relief in weeks. The team could see the suffering in their eyes. This pause offered a window of relief that we hope paves the way for longer-term calm. Safe and unimpeded humanitarian access cannot stop now.”
After weeks of very limited humanitarian aid deliveries through the Rafah border, WFP joined on Nov. 26 an inter-agency convoy that delivered 7.6 metric tons of food assistance to around 23,616 people in Al-Ahli hospital and surrounding hard-to-reach areas.
Since Nov. 24, WFP has reached 121,161 people in UN shelters and host communities with food, including bread, food parcels, and e-vouchers.
During the pause in fighting, the convoy also conducted wider-reaching assessments to inform its response, expanded logistics capacities by setting up storage units and safely transported food items across Gaza.
Around 90,000 displaced residents in UN shelters received fresh bread sourced from the only currently operational WFP-run bakery, which is working on an ad-hoc basis on the first day of the pause in hostilities.
A further 7,545 people received food parcels in host communities during this time.
WFP and other partners continue to test the delivery of aid from Jordan as a complementary supply corridor for the Gaza emergency. The UN agency dispatched 51 metric tons of food supplies, including 14 metric tons of ready-to-eat food and 37 metric tons of date bars, via seven trucks departing from Amman to Rafah, Egypt, as part of a joint convoy with the UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.
WFP has reiterated that a six-day-long pause was not enough to make any meaningful impact. Operations on the ground need uninterrupted and regular supplies of adequate quantities of food and other essential commodities into Gaza, WFP said.
WFP has reached a total of 825,858 people with emergency food and electronic food vouchers across Gaza and the West Bank since the start of the crisis.