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Explanation: A closer examination of the convoy at the Gaza crossing.
Middle East World News

Explanation: A closer examination of the convoy at the Gaza crossing.

Following his personal inspection of shipments near Gaza in Egypt, including pallets containing medical supplies, food, and water, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres spoke to reporters and emphasized the urgent need for the trucks to cross the border immediately, stating that it is a matter of life and death.

Due to the ongoing conflict beginning on October 7th, a siege was quickly imposed, prompting UN agencies and partners to urgently deliver large quantities of supplies.

Organizations within the enclave are reporting alarmingly insufficient quantities of essential provisions, such as food and water, due to ongoing air strikes and bombardment. Over 3,000 tonnes of aid are currently awaiting distribution.

UN News took a look at what’s inside trucks waiting at the border. Here’s what we found:


A portion of the convoy consists of trucks that are solely transporting bottled water. These trucks contain numerous shipments, each carrying 5,544 bottles of water, provided by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

According to the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, water remains one of the most valuable resources in Gaza and the West Bank.

According to UN organizations present in the area, the amount of daily food supplies may decrease to only one liter per individual, which is significantly lower than the recommended minimum of 15 liters per day. They have also expressed serious apprehensions about potential outbreaks of water-related illnesses.

As shipments are prepared for transport, the United Nations’ humanitarian coordination agency, OCHA, has been assessing additional logistics for water delivery operations.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres inspects aid supplies in a cargo plane destined for the people of Gaza.

Photo taken by Eskinder Debebe for the United Nations.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres inspects aid supplies in a cargo plane destined for the people of Gaza.


The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) has prepared 951 metric tonnes of emergency food for delivery to Gaza.

To gauge the volume, a convoy of five trucks is carrying, among other things,100 tonnes of food parcels. That’s about 20 tonnes of food per truck. Other vehicles contain additional donations of ready-to-eat food that continue to arrive.

The shipments from the WFP consist of various essential items, such as 300 tonnes of food that can provide sustenance for 250,000 individuals for a week, 22 tonnes of humanitarian aid, 15 tonnes of fortified biscuits, and two mobile storage units to alleviate shortages in Gaza. Additionally, the agency coordinated the transfer of 40 metric tonnes of food packages donated by the United Arab Emirates.

Destruction in Gaza on 8 October 2023, a day after the outbreak of the ongoing crisis.

© UNRWA/Mohammed Hinnawi

The destruction in Gaza occurred on October 8th, 2023, one day after the start of the ongoing crisis.


The current conflict has caused one million residents of Gaza to flee their homes, which is nearly half of the total population. An order from Israel to evacuate the area and relocate to southern regions has left many people sleeping on the streets as they continue to face ongoing attacks.

Numerous civilians are patiently awaiting the opening of the Rafah border, and there are also countless others who are in dire need. In order to assist and provide for these individuals, humanitarian organizations have sent various supplies to accommodate them and meet their basic needs.

That includes 15 metric tonnes of tarpaulins, sent by the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) and 300,000 emergency kits containing essential items from OCHA.

Supplies dispatched from the WHO Logistics Hub in Dubai, UAE, to El Arish Airport in Egypt. 

The WHO Logistics Hub in Dubai, UAE has shipped supplies to El Arish Airport in Egypt.

UNFPA, the UN agency for sexual and reproductive health, provided 3,000 dignity kits to meet the needs of girls and women. These kits included menstrual pads, bath soap, multiple pairs of underwear, detergent powder, a flashlight, toothpaste, and a toothbrush.

UNICEF is prepared to provide mobile latrines and dignity kits to meet the urgent needs of 150,000 individuals.


Several trucks at the border are transporting essential medical resources. As of October 7th, United Nations organizations are citing Gaza authorities who have documented nearly 4,000 fatalities and numerous injuries.

The existing, overwhelmed, and damaged health system has been worsened by the evacuation order, as supplies are quickly running out in the enclave.

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, was one of the first leaders of UN agencies to contact the President of Egypt in order to arrange for aid to be delivered. He stated that an initial delivery of 78 cubic metres of emergency aid would benefit over 300,000 Palestinians.

Shipments crossing the border include medical supplies for treating injuries and emergency medical goods. Furthermore, the WHO office in Egypt has recently acquired an extra nine metric tonnes of emergency kits for trauma cases.


Several trucks at Rafah are currently waiting to be cleared, and they contain much-needed fuel containers.

For approximately 14 days, people working for humanitarian causes in the area have been expressing concerns about the lack of fuel. The continuous blockade has resulted in the shut down of vital resources such as water and electricity, leading to the use of generators for power supply.

Numerous UN agencies state that there is an urgent need for fuel to operate and support hospitals, desalination plants, and water pumps.

A WFP-chartered aircraft lands at El Arish Airport in Egypt, carrying 22 tonnes of humanitarian relief, including 15 tonnes of fortified biscuits, and two mobile storage units to address pressing shortages in Gaza.


A plane chartered by WFP arrives at El Arish Airport in Egypt, bringing 22 tonnes of emergency aid. This includes 15 tonnes of fortified biscuits and two mobile storage units to help alleviate shortages in Gaza.

What is the process for delivering aid to Gaza through the crossing?

Prior to the current emergency, an average of 100 trucks would enter the region on a daily basis due to the fact that over 60 percent of the inhabitants depended on assistance from UNRWA. As of October 7, UNRWA has not received any deliveries.

Due to the ongoing conflict, the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings from Israel into Gaza have been shut down. As a result, the Rafah border is now seen as a crucial source of aid for the besieged population, according to the UN leader.

To streamline the delivery process, the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) has organized flights that transport hundreds of tons of aid to El Arish Airport in Egypt, which is situated 45 km (28 miles) away from the Rafah crossing.

In the past week, several countries including Egypt, Jordan, Türkiye, and the United Arab Emirates have provided donations, and there has been an increase in the number of humanitarian organizations involved.

On Friday, there was a steady influx of supplies. Pallets were continuously being loaded onto trucks that were waiting to depart. The drivers would then travel to Rafah and join the waiting convoy, remaining on standby until a decision was made to open the border.