Jerusalem24 – The World Food Programme (WFP) has started providing emergency assistance for more than 51,000 people in northern Gaza in response to rising humanitarian needs among families affected by the recent escalation of conflict in the impoverished strip.
Working alongside its partners, WFP said that it’s providing cash support which will benefit both people who now need assistance for the first time and people who were already receiving WFP assistance but have had to leave their belongings behind and go and stay with friends or family elsewhere.
However, the closure of crossings into Gaza may soon cause a shortage of commodities, including food, which could lead to a rise in food prices. Prices of fresh produce are already on the rise as farmers are unable to reach their land.
According to a statement, the WFP is also providing technical assistance to assess humanitarian needs in Gaza and is supporting – through the WFP-led logistics efforts – the coordination of humanitarian cargo that may need to enter the area if borders remain closed.
“People in Gaza have already been living on the edge and many families struggle to put food on the table. Their situation has deteriorated even further over the past year due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions,” says WFP Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Corinne Fleischer. “The majority of the population cannot withstand further shocks and the current situation could unleash a crisis that could spill into the entire region.”
WFP noted that poverty and unemployment, the two key drivers of food insecurity in the region, were already high prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent deterioration in security conditions. More than half of Gaza’s population live in poverty – 53 percent – and unemployment is at 45 percent.