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Humanitarian response to the crisis in Gaza

Eight months on since the escalation of decades long conflict between Israel and Palestine, the situation in Gaza is worsening daily. The actions of the Israeli army against Palestinian civilians have resulted in over 35,000 deaths in Gaza, with over 80,000 injured and almost every aspect of local infrastructure decimated.  

Many members of Scotland’s International Development Alliance are working tirelessly to provide humanitarian assistance in Gaza, but are facing continued disruptions to the delivery of resources and medical support from the Israeli occupying forces.

We asked a few of our member organisations to provide a short update on their work in Gaza. 

Jane Critchley Salmonson, of Firefly International said: 

Child trauma awareness session : Firefly International

Firefly International is a partner in a project in Gaza which has been providing child trauma counselling. A statement from the project leader is here. 

We endorse his message. We continue to fund the salaries of the five staff, to help them survive, although the project activities are greatly curtailed. The photo below shows one of the ongoing child trauma awareness sessions project staff continue to hold. We are about to start a rapid needs assessment among Palestinian refugee families in Cairo. We will rebuild our services for children in Gaza, re-designed for the circumstances, when it becomes possible to do so.

Mercy Corps: 

“As the conflict in Gaza continues, causing untold human suffering and loss of life, Mercy Corps has actively ramped up the distribution of essential items to meet urgent needs. 

 Since October, we have provided support through emergency cash, food, and hygiene kits to over 147,000 people. However, the limited amount of aid that Mercy Corps and other organizations are currently able to provide in Gaza is nowhere near enough to meet the needs of 2.3 million people due to relentless hostilities, active restrictions on aid, and logistical barriers. Despite humanitarian efforts, widespread starvation persists. 

Mercy Corps continues to advocate for a ceasefire, an end to siege tactics, the weaponization of hunger, and increased humanitarian access to meet the urgent needs of millions.” 

Action Aid: 

Gaza : Action Aid

ActionAid is supporting partner organizations in Gaza to provide aid (including food parcels, winter items, hygiene kits, and maternity kits) and multi-purpose cash assistance through a local financial service provider. Despite severe challenges, partners are offering psychosocial counselling, recreational activities for children, and emergency awareness sessions. ActionAid also works with Al Awda hospital to provide maternity and orthopaedic services, albeit under extremely difficult conditions due to a lack of fuel and medical supplies.

ActionAid calls on the UK Govt to advocate for an immediate and permanent ceasefire; cease the licensing and export of arms and military equipment to the Israeli Govt; hold accountable those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law, and ensure humanitarian assistance is immediate and meets the needs of women and girls. 

Oxfam have been campaigning against the approval of arms sales to Israel: 

In response to the approval by the Royal Courts of Justice of Oxfam’s intervention in a judicial review of the Government’s continuing approval of arms sales to Israel, Oxfam Chief Executive, Halima Begum, said: 

“We welcome the court’s decision to approve Oxfam’s intervention in this extremely important case. By continuing to license arms sales to Israel, the UK government is failing to fulfil its moral responsibilities to bring about a peaceful end to this devastating conflict. We also believe it is failing to meet its domestic and international legal obligations to ensure that UK arms are not sold if there is a clear risk of violations of International Humanitarian Law. 

“As an agency working on the ground in Gaza, we’ve witnessed first-hand the devastation the Israeli military has caused to families in Gaza and to vital infrastructures. Oxfam has been systematically prevented from getting life-saving aid into the enclave, and our staff and partners face a constant threat to their lives while trying to sustain basic humanitarian operations.

“We strongly urge the Government to suspend all arms licenses to Israel immediately and, instead, use all the diplomatic leverage it has to push for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, to end the death and destruction and ensure the safe release of hostages.” 

Islamic Relief:

As conditions rapidly deteriorate amid this latest escalation in hostilities, Islamic Relief remains steadfast in our determination to assist Palestinian families. Working closely with our local partners, we are distributing essential items to affected families. 

Since October 2023, we have provided over £19.5 million worth of aid and delivered over 20.9 million hot meals. 

We have been providing humanitarian relief in Palestine since 1997, serving as a lifeline for communities struggling with the devastating effects of occupation, blockade and recurring conflict. As Palestinian families face fresh suffering in Gaza, Islamic Relief is calling on supporters to help us provide much-needed humanitarian aid. 

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