Photo: WFP/Ali Jadallah/2023

WFP Calls for Sustained Access to Gaza as Humanitarian Convoy Brings First Food Supplies Across Border

Published October 21, 2023

ROME – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomed today’s opening of the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza, which enabled a first convoy of trucks to bring in urgently needed food, water and other supplies provided by the Egyptian Red Crescent and the United Nations for hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza who have been struggling amid desperate conditions.

The convoy, which moved through the Rafah crossing Saturday brought with it three trucks carrying over 130,000 pounds of U.N. World Food Programme emergency food. The supplies include canned tuna, wheat flour, pasta, canned beans and canned tomato paste.

“This food is desperately needed as the conditions inside Gaza are truly catastrophic. These 20 trucks are an important first step, but this convoy has to be the first of many,” said U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain. “We must also have continuous, safe access for humanitarians and civilians inside Gaza, so that we can get this food to the people who so badly need it.”

The U.N. World Food Programme has another 2 million pounds of emergency food items at or near the Rafah border, ready to be brought into Gaza whenever access is allowed again. The stocks are needed to replenish the U.N. World Food Programme’s rapidly dwindling supplies inside Gaza.

Since the start of the crisis, some 520,000 people have received U.N. World Food Programme food assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme is expanding its operation to support 1.1 million people in Gaza in the next two months.

Assistance includes fresh bread delivered daily to Gazans in UN shelters in areas where access is allowed. The U.N. World Food Programme supplies flour to contracted bakeries, which produce bread for distribution. However, in recent days many bakeries have stopped working because of lack of power and fuel. On Wednesday, one was hit.

The U.N. World Food Programme has also been providing cash vouchers which can be redeemed in food shops. Some 275,000 people have received this form of assistance so far. But with commercial food stocks running low, more food needs to be brought into Gaza urgently.

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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.