Gaza Update: How Does Islamic Relief Continue to Deliver Aid?

Islamic Relief providing portable toilets within Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip

Amid the escalating assault on Gaza, especially with news of Israeli forces intensifying bombings on Rafah, how is Islamic Relief delivering aid in Gaza?

This current update (up to date as of May 27, 2024) provides clarity on how our teams can continue delivering aid inside Gaza at the moment. This includes how Islamic Relief undertakes the delivery of aid and what type of aid we distribute. 

Note: This update relates to our current initiatives. It does not refer to the initiatives that we have completed.  

Israeli forces continue to step up military strikes on Gaza. Planes are bombing targets in Rafah, despite rulings from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Israel to halt its military assault on the city.  

Rafah, being located on Gaza’s southern edge, has also been the main route for aid. It has been subjected to numerous border crossing closings, which occur frequently and without warning.   

Despite the increasing dangers of delivering aid in Gaza, Islamic Relief remains committed to supporting the people, to prevent further suffering in this escalating, dire humanitarian crisis.  

Islamic Relief has been active in Palestine since 1997. We had a permanent office in Gaza, which, was unfortunately, destroyed late last year during one of the many airstrikes. However, our team is still active. We continue to operate in the Gaza Strip and deliver aid on a daily basis.  

Photo: Islamic Relief providing portable toilets within Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.

Our team is active in middle and southern Gaza. Currently, Islamic Relief is focusing on supporting orphan families, constructing WASH facilities and distributing food and multi-purpose cash grants. Since October 7th, 2023, we have delivered water, medicine and medical items, hygiene/dignity kits, psychosocial support, and healthcare services. 

Addressing Current Concerns About Getting Aid in Gaza

There is a significant amount of confusion regarding the delivery and distribution of aid in Gaza. News agencies are not always providing accurate or up-to-date information. As a result, some of our donors are confused as to what is happening, and four current general concerns have emerged.  

The Closing of Border Crossings

The first concern is that the border crossings are closed. It is important to understand that there is no set pattern for when the border crossings open and close. One day Rafah might be closed. Then, two days later, no crossings are open. Then, two days after that, Kerem Shalom is closed but Rafah is open. News media often struggles to keep up and news on crossings is usually delayed.  

How Can There be Supplies Available in Gaza?

The second concern is that nothing is available within Gaza – no shops or suppliers and no cash economy. While it is true that food and goods are hard to find, there are suppliers. There is also some cash available. However, everything is very expensive due to the scarcity. This is where the multi-purpose cash grants Islamic Relief provides can help, as they allow families to purchase the supplies they need, without leaving them with unnecessary items.

How Does Anything Get into Gaza?

The third concern is that nothing is getting into Gaza. While the trucks are not delivering nearly enough, some deliveries are happening. UN-associated trucks, like the World Food Program (WFP) and UNICEF, do have priority and the greatest level of protection and are getting in. We have heard stories of WFP trucks being turned back but that is not all the WFP trucks.

As Islamic Relief, we have had some deliveries, but our trucks are not as regularly allowed through as the UN trucks. Fortunately, Islamic Relief Australia has an established partnership with UNICEF Australia and our teams have been able to ensure the delivery of more aid through this partnership.  

Where Does Islamic Relief Operate in Gaza?

The last concern relates to where within Gaza Islamic Relief is working. We had to move south due to the bombing in the North. Currently, our teams are mainly working in what is called Middle Gaza and southern Gaza (where Rafah and Khan Younis are).

Islamic Relief providing clean water to needy residents in the Middle Area
Photo: Islamic Relief providing clean water to needy residents in the Middle Area.

We are still not working in the North due to the conditions there. It is reasonable to consider the entire Gaza to be a war zone, with the possibility that intense fighting will break out anywhere. 

Blockade Update 

On Sunday, May 26, 2024, Israel allowed about 200 aid trucks into Gaza through Kerem Shalom at the south-eastern edge of the Palestinian enclave, bypassing the main Rafah crossing that has been blocked for weeks. 

According to an official from the Egyptian Red Crescent, another 200 trucks of aid, as well as four fuel trucks, were expected to enter the following day through the Kerem Shalom crossing.

The border crossings seem to open and close without warning and reasoning, and the number of trucks to be let through seems arbitrary. All of this means that it is impossible to predict what aid will be coming in. However, aid is getting in, which is why organisations still need ongoing support from donors.

Our Current Response

Aid Delivery by IR Palestine 

We are active right now! Below is the update of activities implemented on 26 May 2024. We are currently focusing on food delivery, distributing multi-purpose cash grants and constructing WASH facilities.  

IR Partners (our emergency response)

  • Provided 30,963 RTE meals in North Gaza for the displaced persons and 27,600 in Khan Younis. 
  • Distributed vegetable packs to 1,950 HH in three shelters in Khan Younis 
  • A total of six single WASH facilities (M/F) were installed. These facilities will meet the hygiene needs of 200 HHs in three shelters in Khan Younis.

 

Partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP)

  • Provided a total of 91,800 hot meals in Khan Younis, 6,000 in Rafah, and 71,100 in the Middle area to displaced people.
  • Provided lipid-based nutrient supplement “LNS” for (667 Pregnant/Breastfeeding and 1,932 Children) in Khan Younis and the Middle area.

 

Overall, we have delivered 17,005,946 hot meals and provided 300,389 households with ready-to-eat meals since October 2023.

Islamic Relief, with World Food Program, is delivering hot meals to people in Gaza
Photo: Islamic Relief, with World Food Program (WFP), delivering hot meals in Gaza.

Making Food More Accessible in Gaza

At this stage, we are able to access a significant amount of food through our partnership with the World Food Program (WFP). WFP is a UN agency and supposedly has open access. Although this is not always the case, they do have the best chance of getting trucks in. We are therefore very fortunate to be partnering with them. We are also able to source some food within Gaza, although this is very limited and very expensive.  

What the Future Holds

As pointed out by the media and reports, the situation in Gaza is extremely volatile, dangerous, fluid and unpredictable.

Our team are extremely courageous and committed and are doing everything in their control to continue delivering aid. It is hard to predict what will happen, so while we are very proud that we are delivering significant aid, particularly in distributing hot meals (we are WFPs biggest partner), nobody can guarantee anything going forward.

We are committed to assisting and supporting our team, by making sure they have the resources to carry on. Islamic Relief is committed to the rebuilding and reconstruction of Gaza in the long term.  

As everyone is probably aware, it is difficult to get aid into Gaza. However, our teams on the ground are working with various partners, international and local, which allows us to access aid for distribution. Together, we have been able to deliver 17,005,946 hot meals and provide 300,389 households with ready-to-eat meals since October 2023. Islamic Relief is also constructing WASH facilities in Gaza, giving civilians access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation amid the dire situation. 

We will continue doing everything in our power to alleviate the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Gaza. Islamic Relief is committed to the rebuilding and reconstruction of Gaza, currently and in the long term. We are committed to assisting and supporting our team, by making sure they have the resources to carry on. And it is our donors who make it possible for us to continue our efforts in Gaza, as their support helps us reach even more people in need, as swiftly as possible.

Asif Sana, Director of Programs and Institutional Relations

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