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WFP appeals for urgent expanded Gaza access with food supplies ‘dangerously low’

WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain.
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WFP Executive Director Cindy McCain.

WFP appeals for urgent expanded Gaza access with food supplies ‘dangerously low’

Humanitarian Aid

The head of the UN’s emergency food relief agency on Sunday issued an urgent appeal from the Rafah border crossing for safe, expanded humanitarian access to Gaza as critical food supplies in the ravaged enclave reach dangerously low levels.

“Right now, parents in Gaza do not know whether they can feed their children today and whether they will even survive to see tomorrow. The suffering just meters away is unfathomable standing on this side of the border,” said Cindy McCain, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

“Today, I'm making an urgent plea for the millions of people whose lives are being torn apart by this crisis,” she added.

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Aid ‘nowhere near enough’

For the past few weeks, entry points into Gaza have been virtually sealed except through the Rafah border crossing point. While there has been a steady increase in aid entering Gaza, it is nowhere near enough to meet the exponentially growing needs, according to the UN agency.

The WFP head is concluding a two-day visit to Egypt, during which she met with top Government officials, including President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, and visited the Egyptian Red Crescent’s humanitarian staging hub in Al Arish.

“We appreciate all efforts to facilitate a steady flow of humanitarian supplies through its border with Gaza, and the work of the Egyptian Red Crescent is remarkable. We need to continue to work together to get safe and sustained access to Gaza at a scale that aligns with the catastrophic conditions facing families there,” Ms. McCain said.

‘Not just a local tragedy’

Ms. McCain further highlighted that the crisis in Gaza is “not just a local tragedy, it is a stark reminder that our global food crisis is worsening”.

“Not only does this crisis threaten regional peace and stability, it undermines our collective efforts to combat hunger worldwide,” she said.

WFP is scaling up to reach more than one million people with urgent food assistance in the next few weeks, and since 7 October, provided food and cash assistance to more than 650,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank.

It is also distributing fresh bread, date bars, and canned food to families in UN shelters every day, and food parcels to displaced families in host communities. It is also providing cash-based transfers to people residing in communities so they can buy the food available in shops that are still open.