Photo: WFP/Ali Jadallah/2023

WFP Appeals for Sustained Access to Gaza to Provide Food Lifeline

Published October 17, 2023
Last Updated December 28, 2023

ROME – As humanitarian supplies converged on Egypt’s border with Gaza, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today renewed its call for sustained humanitarian access to Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of people fleeing violence desperately need food, water and medical supplies. The U.N. World Food Programme already has food for 244,000 people close to the border with Gaza. More food supplies are arriving in northeastern Egypt, where an assistance hub is being set up.

“We need to be allowed to bring this food into Gaza for immediate distribution. And not just once. We need sustained access. The situation over there is catastrophic and our stocks inside Gaza are running out. Every day that passes pushed more and more people closer to starvation,” said Corinne Fleischer, U.N. World Food Programme Regional Director for Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe.

“The situation is dire. It is unlike anything we have seen before here,” said Samer Abdeljaber, the U.N. World Food Programme’s Country Director in Palestine. “Our teams are working around the clock to distribute food and ensure the electronic voucher system is still functioning. Heart-wrenchingly, hundreds of people are queueing for hours every day to get bread rations at bakeries across Gaza, while food is there, ready for distribution, just across the border.”

Here is the latest information on the U.N. World Food Programme’s operations in Palestine since the start of the crisis:

  • On Monday, some 170,000 people received fresh bread and more than 15,000 people redeemed a cash voucher.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme already has 310 metric tons of ready-to-eat food – enough to feed 244,000 people – at or on its way to the Egyptian border. It includes fortified biscuits, canned fish and date bars – all items that require no cooking facilities.
  • More food supplies are arriving. A plane landed in Al Arish, in Egypt’s northeast, on Sunday carrying 5 tons of fortified biscuits. Another plane arrived Monday carrying an additional 15 tons, along with and mobile storage units for logistics capacity.
  • Despite immense challenges, the U.N. World Food Programme has provided food and cash assistance to some 522,000 Palestinians. The U.N. World Food Programme plans to provide a vital food lifeline to over 800,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank.
  • The U.N. World Food Programme requires an immediate $74 million for the next three months to provide this emergency assistance.
  • Food stocks in Gaza shops will last less than a week. Many shops are unable to restock from wholesalers because of damage to roads, infrastructure and insecurity.
  • Only one flour mill is operating in Gaza and few bakeries are able to work so the bread supply is running short. People are lining up for hours to get bread.

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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.