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Oxfam condemns all attacks and violence targeting Palestinian and Israeli civilians. Without an immediate ceasefire, civilians in Gaza will continue to experience unimaginable suffering, which is increasing rapidly by the day.
Thousands of people have died and 2.3 million people are under siege since the escalation of violence in Gaza.
Families are facing dire shortages of food, water and sanitations facilities. Many are trapped in their homes with nowhere safe to shelter while attacks continue.
Ordinary civilians have already borne the brunt of the violence and now those in Gaza face a double blow as they are cut off from vital humanitarian aid and all public services.
Oxfam has been able to provide small amounts of clean water, hygiene kits and cash assistance to families affected but the number of those in need is vast and continues to climb every day. We call for an immediate ceasefire to more life-saving humanitarian aid can safely reach families who are living this unfathomable reality.
Donate now and help provide clean water, sanitation facilities and cash assistance to help save lives.
is enough to provide basic provisions including tarpaulins, water containers, soap and sanitary materials to families in Gaza
is enough to provide toilets for 40 people in Gaza
is enough to provide a Food Survival pack to feed a family of six in Gaza for four months
The brief humanitarian pause over the past week saw vital aid enter Gaza. Oxfam has been working with our partners to begin to deliver:
The humanitarian pause is now over, and Gaza is once again being bombarded, placing millions of lives in danger.
Reacting to news today that the humanitarian pause agreed between the Government of Israel and Hamas has ended, with renewed hostilities, Oxfam Humanitarian Director Marta Valdes Garcia said:
“The humanitarian pause brought a short respite from airstrikes, bombs and terror but it was never going to be enough to give trapped Palestinians sufficient amounts of food, water, basic services, safety and hope that they desperately needed. Now it has ended, Oxfam fears for the lives and futures of more than 2 million Gazans who again face death from renewed missiles and bombs, and from starvation and thirst and disease, and also for Israeli civilians, as the cycle of violence continues.”
As a four-day humanitarian pause ends in Gaza with an extension of two days, aid agencies supporting humanitarian work there are stepping up calls on Prime Minister Albanese and Minister Wong to push for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.
Even with the brief break in fighting, Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Lyn Morgain said access has remained incredibly difficult to the war-torn Gaza Strip.
“A four-day pause allows us to deliver a drop of aid into an ocean of need – it is woefully inadequate given the scale of suffering and destruction in Gaza. And while welcome, just two extra days is not sufficient. For seven weeks, Gazans, including 33 Oxfam staff, have been living under constant bombardment and the amount of aid supplies reaching them has been significantly lower than requirements for survival,” she said.
The collapse of Gaza’s hospitals and healthcare system, coupled with the catastrophic living conditions, is resulting in babies dying of preventable causes. Without essential equipment and medical support, premature and underweight babies have little to no chance of survival.
Newborns up to three months old are dying of diarrhoea, hypothermia, dehydration and infection as mothers have little to no medical support and are living in appalling conditions without water, sanitation, heat or food.
Oxfam and The Palestinian Environment Friends, its local partner in Gaza, have begun to distribute hygiene kits in the South Gaza Strip as part of Oxfam’s Emergency response to the crisis.
These hygiene kits include items such as soap, wipes, menstrual hygiene products and cleaning supplies, which can help avoid the spread of potentially deadly diseases.
An Oxfam staff member has shared some of the harrowing conditions residents are facing right now on the Gaza Strip:
“Basic humanitarian needs are very scarce and, when available, super expensive. We walk miles to get water and buy it for triple the regular price … Most bakeries are either bombed or out of capacity. Wheat flour is like gold now, or even diamond, very rare to find and very expensive after the last standing gristmill or flour mill was bombed, so bread is now a rare commodity. Showers are a luxury and a privilege we can barely afford. Warm meals are available once per 3 days made on a woodfire because gas is completely not available for days, if not weeks, now … Mobile networks are down most of the day, the internet is very weak when available, and we still fall under blackouts at night.”
On Monday 13 November 2023, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced that their last remaining fuel reservoir had been exhausted, rendering an aid response impossible and accelerating the current humanitarian catastrophe to unimaginable proportions.
In response to the escalation of attacks on hospitals in Gaza, Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam’s Middle East Regional Director, said:
“Attacks on hospitals packed with civilians in need of urgent treatment and seeking shelter are abhorrent and can never be justified. Children receiving care for cancer, people on respirators, patients in intensive care cannot flee the violence. Indiscriminately firing on civilians in hospitals is not just a war crime, it’s an assault on humanity.
“World leaders must stop sitting on the sidelines, wringing their hands. We need an immediate ceasefire to end the relentless bloodshed and to prevent the shattering of even more lives.”
Oxfam has been addressing the emergency needs in Gaza in collaboration with local partners:
“Escaped death twice today. (We feel) like rats in a cage. Gaza City is closed off, and we hear that people travelling to find shelter in the south were targeted in an airstrike and killed. It sounds like they’re going to bomb the hell out of the area. Shifa, is a nightmarish hell hole, with sewage overflowing. Flies are like bodybuilders, enormous, they’re so big and swarm everywhere, impervious to our attempts to swat them. The “zanana” (the sound of military drones) is loud and never leaves the sky.”
The Israeli airstrikes destroyed Al Zahra City. Residential towers in the Gaza Strip were turned into rubble during an Israeli airstrike, with at least twenty-five residential towers being targeted.
Gazans are paying 5 ILS (1.5 USD) to charge their mobile phones due to limited electricity. Our Saving Lives Manager Wassim Mushtaha charged four mobile phones for 20 ILS.
“Most of Gazan’s are dependent on aid because of the continued and prolonged illegal blockade. And now, they’re completely destitute. They don’t have food. They don’t have electricity. They don’t have water. There’s no shelter. There’s nowhere safe to go.” – Bushra Khalidi Policy Lead – Oxfam in Jerusalem.
Just 2 per cent of food that would have been delivered has entered Gaza since the total siege. As the escalation of the conflict extends to its 19th day, a staggering 2.2 million people are now in urgent need of food. Prior to the hostilities, 104 trucks a day would deliver food to the besieged Gaza Strip, one truck every 14 minutes.
While this is very welcome, it is nowhere near enough for the 2.3 million people trying to survive under rapid bombing and diminishing supplies.
People are facing intolerable suffering and deserve every aid they can get.
Gaza is facing an unprecedented health crisis that risks an outbreak of deadly infectious diseases, like cholera, because water and sanitation services have completely broken down.
All five of Gaza’s wastewater treatment plants and most of its 65 sewage pumping stations have been forced to close. Untreated sewage is now being discharged into the sea and, in some areas, solid waste is accumulating in the streets.
Humanitarian agencies operating in Gaza are reporting an unfolding humanitarian crisis on an unprecedented scale. There are not adequate facilities to safely accommodate residents from northern Gaza, and their safety remains jeopardized as Israeli airstrikes persistently target central and southern Gaza.
We plead with world leaders and actors on the ground to prioritize the preservation of human life above all else. Anything less will forever be a stain on our collective conscience.
Oxfam is warning that a total siege on Gaza will lead to a humanitarian catastrophe. Yesterday’s announcement from the Israeli government, in response to the appalling attacks by Hamas, will stop all food, water, electricity and fuel from reaching an already vulnerable population. The siege adds to the ongoing blockade of Gaza, which has endured for 16 years.
Israel has announced a ‘total blockade’ of an already besieged Gaza, leaving people without food, water and electricity. As Israel continues to bombard the territory following Hamas’ weekend attacks, Oxfam’s colleague Bushra Khalidi talks about how desperate the situation is for civilians living there, especially for those who’ve lost loved ones and their homes.
“It is long past time to break the cycle of war followed by temporary truces and pledges of humanitarian aid, which are only sticking plasters. Instead, the international community must now finally tackle the root causes of injustice and violence that is being perpetrated under the occupation.” – Muystafa Tamaizeh, Oxfam Acting Country Director
In reaction to today’s military offensives in Israel and the Gaza Strip, Mustafa Tmaizi, Oxfam Acting Country Director in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, said:
“Oxfam strongly urges all parties to immediately cease all military offensives and maintain restraint to prevent further escalation of violence that will only harm innocent civilians on both sides. This surge in military escalation underscores the persistent failure of leaders to address the prolonged occupation and Gaza blockade with no meaningful measures taken.
Oxfam is closely monitoring the humanitarian situation alongside our local partners and international organizations. We are also currently assessing the safety and well-being of civilians, Oxfam personnel and partners, especially in areas lacking adequate shelters and protection.”
What is Oxfam doing in Gaza?
Oxfam teams are closely monitoring the humanitarian situation alongside our local partners and international organisations. We’re currently unable to conduct in-person assessments due to violence in occupied Palestinian territory.
When we can operate, our response will include providing people with clean water, sanitation and hygiene items, rehabilitation of water and wastewater networks that have been destroyed in the bombing, food and other essential household items for people who have lost their homes or their incomes.
If emergency shelters are created, we’ll provide support to people there.
Why we are not responding in Israel
The violence perpetrated on Israeli civilians by Hamas was appalling and Oxfam condemns the attacks in the strongest terms.
Our decision to respond in any crisis is always driven by humanitarian need alone — ensuring that people most in need of help are prioritised and taking into account the ability (or inability) of states to provide assistance for its people.
Even before the weekend’s attacks, 80% of people living in Gaza relied on international aid following 16 years of blockade. The Israeli government and local and national organisations have the capacity to meet the current needs in Israel. Oxfam’s humanitarian appeal is therefore focused on providing help to people affected by the crisis in Gaza.
While Oxfam is currently not responding in Israel, we are monitoring the situation carefully. Should that situation change we will reassess.
What is Oxfam’s position on the conflict?
We condemn all attacks, violence and targeting of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. Attacks that deliberately target civilians are never justifiable. All parties must respect international law and cease their attacks. We have witnessed the deadliest day for civilians in the history of modern Israel and the deadliest year in the West Bank since UN records began. The cycle of violence must end.
We call for an immediate ceasefire. Civilians on both sides continue to pay the price for the failure of their leaders to resolve a conflict which has led to the longest occupation in modern history. This escalation of violence also underscores the persistent failure of world leaders to address the occupation and blockade. Unless the international community actively works to address these root causes that have been the catalyst for this new round of hostilities, this cycle of denial of rights and violence will only continue.
Humanitarian aid must be allowed to flow, in safety, to those people most in need. All humanitarian operations are now effectively frozen. It is impossible for agencies like Oxfam to restart them in the face of bombs, shells, rockets and bullets. Ordinary civilians have already borne the brunt of the violence and now those in Gaza face a double blow as the violence escalates and they are cut off from vital humanitarian aid and all public services.
Donate now and help us prepare to provide clean water, sanitation facilities and cash assistance to the people who need life-saving support.
CRISIS IN OCCUPIED PALESTINIAN TERRITORY AND ISRAEL