Get Informed, Stay Inspired

What efforts is the United Nations making to assist civilians in Gaza?
Middle East World News

What efforts is the United Nations making to assist civilians in Gaza?

In areas of conflict worldwide, UN aid workers operate in challenging circumstances. However, the dangers they are exposed to in Gaza cannot be overstated, as even hospitals, schools, and refugee camps are vulnerable to bombing.

The evacuation orders persist, forcing more individuals to head south out of concern for their well-being. As more makeshift locations emerge, many roads are becoming inaccessible. Furthermore, the harsh winter weather, including powerful winds and heavy downpours, is posing additional difficulties for UN convoys delivering aid to those in need.

The United Nations is spearheading relief initiatives in Gaza, collaborating closely with various humanitarian organizations, both local and global.

provided by donors

Monitoring the assistance given by donors.

The primary responsibility of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is to streamline response efforts, prevent redundant actions, and effectively prioritize aid distribution based on demand.

The current state is dire: there is a severe shortage of food and water in northern Gaza, and the remaining health facilities in the area are struggling to keep up with the influx of patients. Although aid is accessible, it is facing significant delays at Israeli checkpoints and navigating through the bombings and frequent denials of access by Israeli authorities is nearly impossible. As a result, only a small portion of the intended aid deliveries are reaching their destinations.

Thousands of people are sheltering in UNRWA schools in Gaza after fleeing their homes.

The copyright for this image belongs to UNICEF and Eyad El Baba.

The image is the property of UNICEF and Eyad El Baba and is protected under copyright law.

Numerous individuals have sought refuge in UNRWA educational institutions in Gaza following their displacement from their residences.

Shelters under fire

UNRWA, established 70 years ago, is among the most long-standing and largest organizations within the United Nations. Its purpose is to offer assistance to Palestine refugees. In Gaza, UNRWA oversees educational institutions, implements relief and community initiatives, and delivers healthcare resources.

The crisis has greatly impacted UNRWA’s operations in the Gaza Strip. As of January 10th, approximately 1.7 million individuals were seeking shelter in or near 155 UNRWA facilities, surpassing their intended capacity. These facilities have been specifically targeted by bombings, with over 60 direct hits reported by the agency. Since October 7th, at least 319 displaced individuals have been killed and over 1,135 injured in UNRWA shelters. Additionally, the agency has lost over 140 colleagues to date.

Medical supplies organized by WHO are unloaded in a warehouse in Gaza.

Supplies from the World Health Organization are being unloaded at a warehouse in Gaza.

‘High-risk” missions

Since October, the United Nations has been conducting dangerous missions to distribute supplies, visiting health facilities that have been severely damaged and are overcrowded with patients. The resources available for these missions are extremely limited. In Gaza City, there are currently no fully functioning hospitals.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that they are fully prepared to provide aid with the help of their partners, but have faced challenges due to restricted access and ongoing conflicts. On January 10th, the Director-General of WHO, Tedros Ghebreyesus, reported that 6 planned missions to northern Gaza were cancelled from December 26th.

Reproductive health kits are delivered to Nasser hospital in Khan Younis.

© UNFPA/Bisan Ouda

Nasser hospital in Khan Younis receives deliveries of reproductive health kits.

is a difficult and dangerous experience.

Bringing a child into the world in a conflict-ridden area is a challenging and perilous ordeal.

UNFPA is acknowledged as the exclusive supplier of birth control services in Gaza and facilitates cooperation among service providers to standardize family planning offerings. In late November 2023, a four-day temporary halt in humanitarian efforts enabled essential reproductive health kits from the United Nations agency for reproductive and maternal health (UNFPA) to be transported into Gaza.

Afterwards, the distribution of UNFPA assistance has been greatly restricted. However, UNFPA has persisted in participating in dangerous missions alongside other organizations and has made a pledge to continue making every effort to provide essential aid to the occupied region.

Money, garments, and safeguarding children

Prior to the October crisis, nearly 33% of Palestinians were experiencing poverty and struggling to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and housing. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) plays a crucial role in aiding children and adolescents with educational, health, protection, and sanitation services throughout their developmental years.

According to NGO Save The Children, approximately 10,000 children in Gaza have lost their lives due to Israeli airstrikes and ground operations since the conflict began.

The organization has successfully supplied numerous gallons of fuel, enabling both public and private water sources and desalination facilities to generate safe drinking water, winter clothing, vaccines, and financial aid. However, this quantity of fuel is only a small portion of what is needed.

A pilot program by UNICEF, launched on January 9th, will provide cash to 100 workers in northern Gaza to assist with solid waste and sanitation cleanup for the next three months.

A young girl from Gaza City recovers from the amputation of part of her arm following a missile strike on her home.

© UNICEF/Abed Zaqout

A little girl in Gaza City is healing after having part of her arm amputated due to a missile attack on her house.

There are 2.2 million people experiencing a food crisis.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has issued a warning that over 2.2 million individuals in Gaza are experiencing high levels of food insecurity, with some in a state of crisis or worse.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has successfully delivered urgent food supplies and monetary aid to more than 856,700 individuals in Gaza and the West Bank during the ongoing conflict. However, it warns that humanitarian efforts are at risk of failing and urgently calls for a ceasefire, the reopening of all borders, and the resumption of commercial shipments to alleviate the crisis and stop the suffering.

Organizations under the United Nations in Palestine.

In total, there are 23 United Nations agencies, funds, and programs located in Palestine, overseen by the Resident Coordinator. The United Nations Country Team in Palestine is made up of the leaders of all UN agencies working in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

In addition to the aforementioned organizations, various prominent agencies are also present in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), such as the International Labour Organization (ILO), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Women, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and UNESCO.

The complete list of United Nations organizations in Palestine can be found here.