ActionAid’s partner organisation in Rafah forced to halt services after staff displaced, as humanitarian operations reach breaking point

  • Date: 14/05/2024
  • Author: Emma Doyle

Aid workers in Rafah are working against the odds to keep providing life-saving support to people in need, despite facing a level of danger that is unprecedented even within humanitarian emergencies, and experiencing the same inhumane living conditions as the rest of the population. Yet with virtually no aid having entered Gaza for days, their jobs are becoming impossible and aid operations risk grinding to a complete halt.  
Already, one of ActionAid’s partners in Gaza, WEFAQ, which is based in Rafah, has had to pause its operations after most of its staff were displaced from their homes. An ActionAid-supported hotline for women and girls experiencing gender-based violence is still offering vital support but without fuel, the electricity and communications networks it relies on will stop running, while hospitals will be unable to power life-saving equipment. 
Both the ICJ’s provisional measures and UN Security Council’s resolution called for the unhindered provision of humanitarian aid, including fuel, to Gaza – yet what we are seeing right now is a flagrant disregard of these demands. Lives are at stake: the Rafah crossing must be opened immediately, and the invasion of the city halted so that urgent supplies of food, fuel and medicine can be delivered. As hundreds of thousands of people flee the city with nowhere safe to go, there must be a permanent and immediate ceasefire to prevent the humanitarian crisis spiralling any further out of control. 

Buthaina Subeh is the director of Wefaq, Society for Women and Child Care, ActionAid Palestine’s partner in Gaza, which provides hot food, clothing, dignity kits, health kits and psychological support to those experiencing trauma. She said: “Most of our operations were ceased, except for online follow-ups. We use the hotline to follow-up and document people’s needs. However, we are unable to operate on site as most of our crew members lost their homes or were displaced to Al Mawasi. We do not even know where most of our crew members are.” 

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