Gaza: How much humanitarian aid is getting through?

The first aid convoys were allowed to cross into the Palestinian territory from Egypt last weekend. This is what we know about the deliveries.

For two weeks, Israel maintained a total blockade of the Gaza Strip. (photo: DW)
For two weeks, Israel maintained a total blockade of the Gaza Strip. (photo: DW)


How many trucks have arrived in Gaza so far?

Aid organizations and news agencies have confirmed that a total of 34 trucks with relief supplies arrived in the Gaza Strip​​​​​​​ last weekend — 20 truckloads on Saturday, October 21, 14 more on Sunday, October 22. Some individual sources have reported slightly different figures.

According to the Egyptian Red Crescent, another 40 trucks were due to enter through the Rafah crossing on Monday. At the time this article was published on Wednesday, October 24, a UN aid spokesperson could only confirm the arrival of 20 trucks, with no further deliveries on Tuesday.

Israel imposed a total two-week blockade on the Palestinian territory, which is home to more than 2 million people, after the widespread terror attacks by Hamas , which is considered a terrorist organization by the EU, the US, Germany and others, on October 7.

What do the aid deliveries include?

Israel has only agreed to allow the delivery of drinking water, food, medicine and other medical supplies. Israeli security forces are checking the contents of the trucks in a transit zone. This is intended to stop both weapons and any goods that can be used to make weapons from entering the Gaza Strip. Israel wants to prevent Hamas, which rules Gaza, from profiting from the aid deliveries.

What is needed?

Aid organizations have estimated that around 100 truckloads of supplies would have to reach Gaza every day to meet the basic needs of the civilian population. In addition to the above-mentioned goods, they are also demanding fuel deliveries.

Fuel is urgently needed to power generators for hospitals and the infrastructure for supplying water. The only major power plant in the Palestinian territory had to shut down a few days after the Hamas attack.

Various media have reported that drinking water is growing scarce. In some cases, people are resorting to drinking seawater, or other water that is not fit to drink — which is having serious consequences for their health. US news agency The Associated Press has reported that about a quarter of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip have been forced to shut down — partly due to war damage, but also in part because they lack the fuel to power emergency generators.

On Monday, UNRWA, the UN aid agency for Palestinians, warned that it only had fuel to last another three days.

Will fuel be delivered to Gaza?

The French news agency AFP reported on Sunday that six tankers of fuel had passed through the Rafah border crossing. This has not, however, been confirmed by other independent sources. A Palestinian spokesperson confirmed the news, but The Times of Israel reported that Israeli officials had denied the report.

However, both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs, confirmed that fuel had been taken from UN depots to hospitals. This is consistent with a report by The Associated Press that seven tanker trucks had been filled with fuel from a UN depot in the Gaza Strip.

How much aid is waiting to be delivered?

Relief supplies have been waiting at the Rafah border crossing for days now. The UN World Food Programme said it has brought almost 1,000 tons of food to the border with Gaza.

Numerous countries have also sent aid supplies to Gaza. Last week, Russia announced it would deliver 27 tons of food. India is reported to have donated 6.5 tons of medical equipment and 32 tons of disaster relief supplies. Several Arab countries, as well as Turkey and Rwanda, have also sent relief aid to Egypt for the Palestinians.

The European Union is providing €75 million (about $80 million) in humanitarian aid to Gaza, and wants to arrange an airlift to support civilians there. Germany and Denmark, which suspended their development aid for the Palestinian territories after the terrorist attack on October 7, have also pledged money. Denmark has said it will provide nearly €7 million, while the German government recently increased its emergency aid to a total of €123 million. And last week, the United Sates pledged $100 million (about €94 million).

What will happen next with aid deliveries?

Aid agencies are calling for the ongoing delivery of relief supplies to Gaza. Following a phone call with Netanyahu last week, US President Joe Biden said the Israeli prime minister had agreed to exactly that.

At the same time, though, Biden warned over the weekend that the initial deliveries should be regarded as a test. If Hamas is found to be siphoning off aid supplies for its organization, the deliveries will swiftly come to an end.

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Published: 25 Oct 2023, 11:06 AM