OCHA’s pooled funds enable lifesaving humanitarian response for people in Gaza

A baby receives routine vaccinations. Photo: UNICEF

oPt | 2023 | CBPF and CERF

occupied Palestinian territory, Gaza.  Since Ayla was born in early October 2023, her mother’s focus has been on keeping her safe and healthy. But, as the intense bombardment from air, land, and sea continues, it has been difficult to do so.

People are hungry. Nearly one million people face emergency levels of food insecurity (Phase 4); with a further 378,000 in Phase 5, facing extreme lack of food, starvation, and exhaustion of coping capacities.

People have lost their homes. About 1.7 million people – three-quarters of the population – have fled their homes because of the conflict. About 60 per cent of civilian housing has been destroyed as well as other critical infrastructure and essential services like hospitals or clean water supply.

Yasmina had planned to exclusively breastfeed Ayla, but now she herself cannot find enough to eat.

“Finding nutritious food is a daily struggle, and it’s affecting Ayla’s feeding. We can barely find the minimum,” she explained. Yasmina adds that she has to supplement with formula – which is not always available, and costs over six dollars per box when it is.

The water she and her husband can find isn’t clean, so she boils it – and Ayla doesn’t like the taste of her formula with this water.

And at night, the sounds of bombing keep her and the baby awake. “It is terrifying. I hug and shield her with my body, fearing for her safety from breaking  glass and collapsing buildings.” 

OCHA’s Pooled Funds – the Central Emergency Response Fund and the oPt Humanitarian Fund – are helping humanitarian organizations to respond to some of the needs Yasmina and Ayla face, alongside millions like them, while hostilities continue.

Immediate assistance through our local partners

Since 7 October, the occupied Palestinian Territories Humanitarian Fund has disbursed about $55 million to respond to urgent needs in Gaza.

The most recent allocation in December allocated some $40 million to urgently help people in Gaza by providing hot meals, water bottles, basic hygiene supplies, and emergency reproductive healthcare.

Non-governmental organization Ma’an Development Center distributed emergency supplies and fresh drinking water. They also delivered winter jackets and blankets, as well as essential supplies like baby wipes and diapers and hygiene supplies for all ages, in parts of Rafah, Khan-Younes, and Middle Areas.

Ma’an also provided affected people sheltering in schools and their homes with drinking water – over 2 million liters in a recent distribution.

Other Humanitarian Fund partners – Palestinian and international – continue to provide immediate assistance.

At the same time, the Central Emergency Response Fund allocated US $12 million in October through its Rapid Response mechanism, directing funding for healthcare, food, water, sanitation, and shelter – aiming to reach about 372,000 people. This funding is helping provide displaced people with ready-to-eat meals, and household supplies. It’s also supporting water service providers with operational and maintenance materials and water trucks, and getting essential medical supplies, fuel, and equipment for Gaza’s battered health system.

For example, with support from CERF and other donors, UNICEF dispatched life-saving medicines and equipment to the Gaza Strip, including supplies for mothers and newborns, like baby Ayla. And UNICEF is also making sure that children affected by the conflict are getting essential routine vaccinations.

Based on original stories from UNICEF.

For more information, see the oPT Humanitarian Response Plan;  CERF allocation Allocation summary | CERF (un.org); the oPt Humanitarian Fund website; and find real-time contribution and allocation data on the POOLED FUNDS DATA HUB.

The oPt HF continues to raise funds to support Ma’an and other partners via the public CrisisRelief campaign: Help the people of Gaza • (un.org)