STATEMENT: Islamic Relief aid workers among many in Gaza facing severe hunger as food runs out.

14 décembre, 2023

December 15th, 2023 — This week, the Canadian government joined the international chorus calling for an immediate and sustained ceasefire. Islamic Relief Canada underscores the urgency for governments around the world to take concrete action to enforce a ceasefire as the gravity of the humanitarian crisis worsens day by day. In Gaza, people are beginning to starve as Israel continues to relentlessly bomb and besiege the enclave. Islamic Relief’s own staff in Gaza are running out of food for themselves and their children.

The trickle of food and other humanitarian aid being allowed into Gaza is virtually nothing compared to the massive needs, which continue to grow every day as the attacks continue. Israel continues to completely ban commercial supplies, including food, from entering, collectively punishing millions of innocent civilians. Deliberately depriving civilians of food, water, fuel and other aid essential for survival is a violation of international law.  

Some people are now going days without food. Young children are at risk of malnutrition, yet the Israeli siege means that medicine and nutritional products to treat them are also extremely scarce. Hundreds of thousands of children and pregnant women are now unable to access nutrition services.   

Despite ongoing deadly attacks on aid workers, for more than two months Islamic Relief staff and local partners in Gaza have distributed food packs, food vouchers and ready-to-eat meals to thousands of civilians in need. Half of all civilians now rely on humanitarian aid for food, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to keep this going as supplies run critically low. Even our own staff are going hungry.   

One Islamic Relief aid worker who is currently displaced in southern Gaza said, “Since the tanks took over the southern area, no food supplies have come our way. Most of the agricultural land is now empty as the Israeli army ordered people to evacuate. My kids feel hungry at night but we do not have enough bread, or enough anything, to make food for them. However much my son asks for food, we have none to give. It is a sad reality that I can’t provide my family with food – not because I don’t have money but because there is no food. The markets are empty. Maybe we are going to die from hunger now.”  

People across Gaza are queuing for more than six hours just to get a few small pieces of bread, and almost all bakeries are still out of action, either due to bomb damage or lack of fuel. Most people no longer have any access to meat or dairy products, and many displaced families now do not have access to cooking gas so they are reliant on whatever raw food they can find. As supplies dwindle, the price of staple food has risen far out of reach of the poorest families – with the price of vegetables now 200% higher than before the assault on Gaza began.   

A recent assessment by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) found severe hunger in more than one third (36%) of respondent households and 91% of people going to bed hungry. Almost two in three people (63%) said they have gone entire days without food.   

Islamic Relief Canada urges our government to urge Israel to allow food, fuel, medicine and other critical supplies into Gaza in the quantity required for a crisis of this magnitude. The Rafah crossing with Egypt does not have anywhere near the capacity to handle the amount of supplies needed, and other crossings – particularly the Kerem Shalom crossing – must be reopened for both humanitarian aid and commercial supplies.   

Notes  

In the last two months Islamic Relief and local partners have provided vital aid including food, medicine, hygiene and psychosocial support for children. We have delivered almost 900,000 ready to eat meals, food parcels and food vouchers for more than 16,600 families, and fresh vegetables to nearly 60,000 households.  

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