The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has begun providing emergency aid to more than 51,000 people in the Gaza Strip in response to a worsening humanitarian crisis that it fears will increase due to the closure of border crossings, which are in short supply and unaffordable Prices for a large part of the population.
“For people who have lost or left their homes, food is one of the most pressing needs,” WFP Palestinian official Samer AbdelJaber said in a statement. Many of these Gazans have fled dressed in clothes and are waiting with family and friends for the current escalation of violence to stop.
The agency first turned to cash assistance, the “fastest, most efficient way” to provide that assistance. It has started handing out wallet cards that beneficiaries can use in the “many stores” that are still open and where “groceries are still available at the moment,” said AbdelJaber.
The WFP is also working together on technical assessments of the humanitarian situation, although its Middle East director Corinne Fleischer recalled that “Gazans are already on the fringes and many families can barely put food on the table”. His situation, he added, “has been made worse by the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007, whereby goods and goods are only allowed through in certain stages. However, the overlap in attacks between Palestinian militiamen and Israeli forces threatens to worsen the situation in an area home to around two million people.
More than two thirds of the population are food insecure and more than half live below the poverty line. Unemployment, one of the main causes of this poor diet and economic situation, is around 45 percent, according to the United Nations.
According to the international organization, the WFP has called for the “immediate” cessation of these struggles, which have already caused “considerable suffering and destruction”.