Christian Aid has launched an emergency appeal to help people affected by the escalation of violence across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
The international development agency has said its partners in Gaza have described the situation as ‘deteriorating very badly’.
Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East Policy & Advocacy, William Bell, said: “Following atrocities against Israeli civilians last weekend, Israel’s military response in Gaza is now creating an escalating humanitarian crisis that threatens more than two million people.”
Mr Bell explained that 16 years of closures and sporadic conflict, meant the people in Gaza were already experiencing very high levels of poverty, unemployment, and violence and insecurity.
He continued: “A lack of water, food, and electricity, and intensifying military action, are putting the lives of growing numbers of civilians at risk.
As the violence and destruction continues, the organisation is launching an appeal to help those affected.
“Our partners in Gaza have told us that hospitals are overwhelmed by casualties, and shops are running out of goods such as bread and baby milk,” Mr Bell said. “They stand ready to respond with medical relief and community-led initiatives such as food, shelter, sanitation and protection.”
Christian Aid works alongside local partners to ensure aid gets to those most in need. Every donation will make a difference; £6 will pay for a basic hygiene kit while a donation of £37 will pay for a food parcel for a family of five in Gaza.
To make a donation, please visit the Middle East Crisis Appeal page on the Christian Aid website.
One of Christian Aid’s partners in Gaza has warned the situation is ‘deteriorating very badly’. They said: “It is not easy to move even to your neighbour’s house. We are trying to make do with the food we have.”
Another local organisation described the atmosphere: “We didn’t sleep last night. We are so scared. There are thousands and thousands of families who are seeking shelter at schools but there are also many families that are now living on the streets.”
Michael Mosselmans, Christian Aid’s Head of Humanitarian Division, said: “We are gravely concerned by the mounting death toll and scale of destruction across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
“With critical infrastructure, including healthcare facilities and homes, destroyed by airstrikes we are seeing hundreds of thousands without anywhere safe to live or the basics such as access to clean water and proper sanitation to prevent the risk of diseases.
“Christian Aid has therefore launched an appeal to strengthen the support we can give through our established local partners to people who have lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones. Every prayer, every gift, every action brings hope to people in crisis.”
The humanitarian agency is also urging the UK Government to commit to protecting aid to the Palestinian people and has called for the rapid establishment of safe humanitarian access.
Christian Aid’s Director of Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns, Osai Ojigho, said: “All parties must abide by international humanitarian law and unconditionally agree to protect civilians and key services, starting with establishing safe humanitarian access as requested by the UN.
“With the civilian population of Gaza already on their knees, the UK Government must not cut aid to the Palestinian people. We need that commitment today. As we pray for an end to the conflict, international leaders must also act and help secure a lasting peace that achieves justice and dignity for all.”