Pause in Fighting Allows Delivery of Lifesaving Food Assistance in Gaza but More Access Is Needed, Says WFP

Photo: WFP/Ali Jadallah/2023
Published November 28, 2023

GAZA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) delivered desperately needed food to more than 120,000 people in Gaza during the initial pause in fighting but has reiterated that the supplies it was able to provide were woefully inadequate to address the level of hunger seen by staff in the UN shelters and communities.

“Thanks to the pause, our teams have been in action on the ground, going into areas we haven’t reached for a long time. What we see is catastrophic. There’s a risk of famine and starvation on our watch and to prevent it, we need to be able to bring in food at scale and distribute it safely,” said the U.N. World Food Programme’s Director for the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe Region Corinne Fleischer. “Six days is simply not enough to provide all the assistance needed. The people of Gaza have to eat every day, not just for six days.”

“Our team recounted what they saw: hunger, desperation and destruction. People who have not received any relief in weeks. The team could see the suffering in their eyes,” said Samer Abdeljaber, U.N. World Food Programme representative and country director. “This pause offered a window of relief that we hope paves the way for longer-term calm. Safe and unimpeded humanitarian access cannot stop now.”

Here is the latest information on the U.N. World Food Programme’s operations during the pause in fighting:

  • After weeks of very limited humanitarian aid deliveries through the Rafah border, on November 26, the U.N. World Food Programme joined an interagency convoy which delivered over 16,500 pounds of food assistance to around 23,616 people in Al-Ahli hospital and surrounding hard-to-reach areas.
  • Since November 24, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached 121,161 people in UN shelters and host communities with food, including bread, food parcels and e-vouchers.
  • During the pause, the convoy also conducted wider-reaching assessments to inform our response, expanded logistics capacities by setting up storage units and safely transported food items across Gaza.
  • On the first day of the pause in hostilities, around 90,000 IDPs in UN shelters received fresh bread sourced from the only currently operational U.N. World Food Programme-run bakery, which is operating on an ad-hoc basis. A further 7,545 people received food parcels in host communities during this time.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme and other partners continue to test the delivery of aid from Jordan as a complementary supply corridor for the Gaza emergency. WFP’s dispatched 112,436 pounds of food supplies, including nearly 31,000 pounds of ready-to-eat food and 81,571 pounds of date bars, via seven trucks departing from Amman to Rafah, Egypt, as part of a joint convoy with UNRWA.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme reiterates that a six-day long pause is not enough to make any meaningful impact. Operations on the ground need uninterrupted and regular supplies of adequate quantities of food and other essential commodities into Gaza.
  • According to the U.N. World Food Programme’s Research, Assessment and Monitoring team, after seven weeks of inadequate food and water consumption, it is highly likely that the population of Gaza, especially women and children, are at high risk of famine if the U.N. World Food Programme is not able to provide continued access to food.
  • Since the start of the crisis, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached a total of 825,858 people with emergency food and electronic food vouchers across Gaza and the West Bank. In Gaza, the U.N. World Food Programme has reached 759,082 people.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme also leads the Logistics Cluster, which was activated to coordinate the efforts of all humanitarian actors and ensure a robust logistics set-up to facilitate the transport and storage of interagency cargo into and inside Gaza.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme’s operations both before and during the pause were made by possible by donations from the United States, the European Union, the private sector, France, the Netherlands, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Slovakia and Malta.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and the world’s leading humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

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