Gaza Humanitarian Emergency

A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Gaza. Oxfam teams are preparing for a humanitarian response to support the 2.2 million people under siege in Gaza.  

Background media: Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli airstrike on the Sousi mosque in Gaza City on October 9, 2023.
Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Gaza following the Israeli response to the appalling attacks by Hamas. Oxfam has been forced to halt all of its humanitarian and development work in Gaza as violence continues to rage across Gaza and Israel. 

We are preparing our response to support the 2.2 million people trapped in Gaza but can only do so when the air strikes and violence stops. All humanitarian operations are now effectively frozen and it is impossible for all agencies to restart them under the continued military escalation. 

The Situation

This page is being updated as the situation evolves. Last update: Thursday, 9 November, 2023

  • Israel and Hamas are involved in the worst outbreak of violence in decades.
  • On Saturday, 7 October 2023, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups from Gaza launched a coordinated assault consisting of land and air attacks into multiple border areas of Israel.
  • Over 1,431 Israelis and other nationals were killed by Palestinian armed forces, including by rockets launched from the Gaza Strip and over 5,400 have been wounded. Around 242 Israelis were captured by armed groups and taken from Israel into the Gaza Strip, and 13 have been allegedly killed in Israeli airstrikes. 
  • On Monday, 8 October, the Israeli government announced a “total blockade” on Gaza, stopping all food, water, electricity and fuel from reaching the already vulnerable population.
  • The siege adds to the ongoing blockade of Gaza, which has endured for over 16 years and has devastated Gaza’s economy, leaving most people unable to leave Gaza and restricting access to essential services such as healthcare and education.
  • Over 12,300 Palestinians across the Gaza Strip have been killed. 70% of those killed are women and children. The Ministry of Health in Gaza stopped reporting casualties on Nov 10 due to the collapse of services and communications in the hospitals in the North of Gaza. Casualties have continued to grow since then.
  • It is estimated that over 32,300 Palestinians have been injured. Many more are missing and may still be under the rubble. The number of fatalities is expected to be higher, given that the near collapse of the Ministry of Health in Gaza is making it difficult to keep track
  • There have been 1.7 million displaced people across the Gaza Strip so far, which is equal to 70% of the population. 900,000 of them are sheltering in UNRWA Designated Emergency Shelters, others are sheltering where they can in hospitals, churches & other public buildings. The overcrowding in these shelters is extremely concerning.

Humanitarian Needs and Impact:

  • Gaza has undergone more than a month of complete blockade with only a trickle aid being delivered. 
  • 2.3 million people are in need of water and essential health, water, and sanitation services are on the brink of collapse. The severely limited access to safe water is leading people to consume brackish water from agricultural wells, triggering severe concerns about the spread of waterborne diseases and cholera.
  • 1.8 million people find themselves food insecure, which is exacerbated by a severe shortage of electricity, fuel, and water in Gaza
  • Only 13 hospitals are still operational throughout Gaza, and only 1 is operational in Gaza City.
  • Women and girls face increased challenges to maintain menstrual hygiene, privacy and safety, and the risk of gender-based violence is higher
  • Hundreds and newly widowed women and orphaned young girls lack protection and more at risk of violence, food insecurity and homelessness.
  • There are critical gaps to health services that affect women and adolescent girls including comprehensive emergency obstetric care, newborn care, SRHR services.

Oxfam Response

  • So far, we have been able to:
    • Distribute cash to 189 families (more than 1,000 individuals) to purchase food and other essentials from one of the few open supermarkets.
    • Provide cash to an additional 228 families and distributed 1,000 food kits at informal shelters in Rafah and Khan Younis, through partner the Culture and Free Thought Association.
    • Distribute 400 hygiene kits to displaced people in southern Gaza with support from another local organization, the Palestine Medical Relief Society.
    • Form a new partnership with Atfaluna, an organization that focuses on people with disabilities, to begin distributing vouchers for food and other items and assistance devices to families in need.
Support the people of Gaza. Give what you can now so we can provide aid as soon as we are able to do so. Photo: CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock

What is Oxfam Doing?

Oxfam has been forced to halt all of its humanitarian and development work in Gaza with its local partners as violence continues to rage across Gaza and Israel. Oxfam is preparing to respond, in support of the 2.2m people trapped in Gaza, as soon as conditions allow. 

When we can operate, our response will include providing people with clean water, sanitation and hygiene items, food and other essential household items. We will also rebuild water and wastewater networks that have been destroyed. 

Oxfam has been working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel since the 1950s and established a country office in the 1980s.  

Your generous donation to Oxfam will help us to deliver emergency food, clean water and sanitation services.

Background media: A Minnie Mouse doll amongst the rubble of bombarded buildings.
Photo: Marwan Sawwaf/Alef MultiMedia/Oxfam

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