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OPT_ER_Vincent in Rafah33-min © Action contre la Faim

Press release

Occupied Palestinian Territory

Increasingly desesperate situation in Rafah

For weeks, we have been warning about the devastating consequences of a military ground offensive in this densely populated area, as well as the lack of a viable evacuation plan to protect civilians, and the lack of guaranteed access to services and goods essential to their survival. In Gaza, there is nowhere safe to go. Regrettably, the international community is failing to stop this impending tragedy. We urge the international community to take immediate steps to protect civilians in Rafah and in the rest of the Strip.

The recent offensive by Israeli forces in Rafah and the closure of the most important crossing point for humanitarian aid in the South has left more than a million civilians trapped in a desperate situation, including children, and has resulted in more than 2,000 trucks waiting on the Egyptian side, unable to cross.

The closure of the Rafah crossing, coupled with the inaccessibility of the Kerem Salom crossing due to the security situation, and the impossibility of getting aid from the Erez crossing in the north of the strip to central and southern Gaza, has disrupted the already extremely limited humanitarian response, further worsening the precarious conditions of the civilian population, which has been facing food and water shortages, poor shelter conditions and virtually disrupted health care services for months.

Limitations on the rotation of humanitarian personnel imposed by military operations have meant that the movement of humanitarian teams has been disrupted, with the consequent impact on their safety and effectiveness in continuing their work. According to the UN, malnutrition is already claiming lives. The denial of humanitarian access is a violation of international humanitarian law, hunger should never be used as a weapon of war.

We recall the obligation of the parties to respect the prohibition of forcible transfer of civilians under International Humanitarian Law and the guarantees for the access of the population to the essential elements for their survival. An immediate and permanent ceasefire, implemented by all parties to the conflict, is crucial to avoid further suffering and loss of life, and to allow safe and unimpeded humanitarian access throughout the Gaza Strip.

As organisation dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance in Gaza, we reaffirm our commitment to continue to provide vital support to affected communities, despite the challenges and risks we face. Our staff continue to work tirelessly to provide humanitarian assistance to those who need it most, and we are prepared to adapt and respond to changing needs in the midst of this unprecedented crisis.

We call for international solidarity and urgent action to end the crisis in Rafah and throughout the Gaza Strip. We cannot allow this humanitarian situation to worsen further.

It is time for action !


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