UN to launch $2.8 billion global ‘flash appeal’ for Gaza and West Bank

Money will go toward 3 million Palestinians across territories; original request for $4 billion lowered, citing limited ability to deliver all aid to areas of need

Illustrative: Displaced Palestinian children gather to receive food at a government school in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 19, 2024. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)
Illustrative: Displaced Palestinian children gather to receive food at a government school in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 19, 2024. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

The United Nations on Wednesday will launch a $2.8 billion appeal for donations this year to help the war-ravaged population of the Gaza Strip as well as West Bank Palestinians, a senior agency official said.

The “flash appeal” addresses humanitarian funding needs through the end of 2024, according to Andrea De Domenico, head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Palestinian territories.

“With the entire humanitarian community we will appeal for $2.8 billion to support the three million people identified across the West Bank and Gaza,” he said Tuesday in a video press conference.

“Of course, 90 percent of it is for Gaza,” De Domenico added.

He noted that “the original request was for $4 billion but considering the limited ability to deliver [aid] and the space that we have to do so we have really focused on the highest priority.”

The UN launched an initial emergency appeal for $294 million a few days after the Israel-Hamas war began in October. That appeal was modified in early November and raised to $1.2 billion to meet the most urgent needs of 2.2 million people in Gaza and another 500,000 in the West Bank in 2023.

Palestinian children fetch water in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 30, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. (Mohammed Abed/AFP)

War in Gaza erupted after Hamas’s October 7 massacre, which saw some 3,000 terrorists burst across the border into Israel by land, air and sea, killing some 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, mostly civilians.

Vowing to destroy Hamas and return the hostages, Israel launched a wide-scale offensive in Gaza that the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry says has killed at least 33,729 Palestinians, mostly women and children. These figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. Israel says it has killed more than 13,000 terrorists inside Gaza and a further 1,000 in Israel on October 7.

The Israel Defense Forces says 260 soldiers have been killed in the ground operation in Gaza since October 7.

The UN has also warned that thousands of Gazans face famine, particularly in the north of the territory where the distribution of food and aid has been limited.

An image of what the Defense Ministry’s COGAT agency says is uncollected consignments of humanitarian aid inside Gaza awaiting distribution by aid organizations, April 11, 2024. (Courtesy: COGAT)

Israel has pushed back on last month’s UN-backed food security classification that warned of looming famine in the northern Strip, arguing that there was more food and water in the territory than humanitarian workers have claimed. Jerusalem said the determination didn’t take into account recent improvements that it had implemented and argued that the problem lay with the UN and aid agencies who have failed to distribute the aid once Israel helped facilitate its entry into the Strip. Aid organizations have responded that IDF operations and movement restrictions are what have hampered distribution efforts.

On Tuesday, the Israeli government told the High Court of Justice that it was already taking action to increase the supply of humanitarian aid heading into the Strip. The government elaborated that it opened a new crossing into northern Gaza, increased operation hours for goods crossings into the territory, added aid coordinators inside Gaza and entered over 100 trucks for internal distribution of the aid.

However, the outgoing head of the United Nations’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Jamie McGoldrick said on April 12 that conditions on the ground have yet to improve, while OCHA’s figures for the number of trucks entering Gaza is far lower than those cited by the government.

Most Popular
read more: