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Humanitarian disaster in Gaza – Germany is also providing assistance from the air

Airdrops of relief food packages over the Gaza Strip

Airdrops of relief food packages over the Gaza Strip, © Bundeswehr

28.03.2024 - Article

The suffering endured by people in the Gaza Strip is indescribable, the humanitarian situation disastrous. In order to alleviate this suffering, Germany has increased its humanitarian assistance yet again. Read on to find out more.

For weeks now, the quantity of relief supplies crossing the border into Gaza has been inadequate. The humanitarian situation remains disastrous, especially in the north of the Gaza Strip. Following the brutal attack by the terrorist organisation Hamas on Israel on 7 October, the civilian population in Gaza, too, is suffering the consequences of Hamas’ terror. The supply of basic provisions and services for the civilian population has collapsed and hundreds of thousands of people there, including many children, are lacking bare essentials, above all food, water and medical care. It is therefore important that humanitarian assistance can be distributed to the civilian population in Gaza quickly and without any obstructions. This has been one of the focuses of Foreign Minister Baerbock’s five visits to the region since 7 October 2023.

Foreign Minister Baerbock has announced that Germany will once again increase its humanitarian assistance for the people in the Palestinian territories.

The Foreign Minister stated on 29 February:

We are increasing our humanitarian assistance for Gaza by an additional 20 million euro. Yet that is by far not enough. The number of lorries transporting life-saving food aid, medicine and other supplies to Gaza has sharply decreased in recent weeks. This is unacceptable. The Israeli Government must immediately enable secure and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance. The International Court of Justice, too, has ordered it to do so. Following the breakdown of public order in many parts of the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army must ensure that humanitarian assistance can be successfully distributed.

Furthermore, on 26 March the Foreign Minister announced an additional 10 million euro in support for the World Food Programme.

This brings overall assistance for the Palestinian territories to around 250 million euro, with some 175 million euro in new funding since 7 October 2023.

Assistance from the air

Since 16 March, Germany has been involved in airdrops to help the suffering population in Gaza. The relief operation is real European teamwork. Two Hercules transport aircraft from the Franco-German transport squadron were transferred from Évreux in Normandy to Jordan, where they are taking part in the airdrops over Gaza. In concrete terms, Franco-German cooperation here means that the aircraft are from the Bundeswehr, while the parachute systems for dropping the relief goods are from France. The crew is Franco-German.

We are also continuing to work on ensuring that more assistance can enter Gaza by road. We know that every relief package counts. However, airdrops are only a drop in the ocean. In order to ensure that people in Gaza have sufficient provisions, the Israeli Government must urgently open further border crossings in order to make it possible for more relief supplies to reach Gaza by lorry.

Food, water, medicines and hygiene products

The Federal Foreign Office is working with the United Nations and experienced international aid organisations to get the urgently needed aid to the people in Gaza. Our partners on the ground include the World Food Programme, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the German Red Cross.

With the humanitarian assistance that is being provided by Germany, the organisations can get basic foodstuffs, medical care and hygiene products to Gaza. Distributed aid includes millet, rice, chickpeas and oil, as well as medical products such as wound dressing material and syringes.

Germany is cooperating closely with partners in the region: We deliver relief supplies to Egypt and Jordan so that they can be transported to Gaza from there. In February, for instance, vital medicines were delivered to Jordan and subsequently used in Jordanian field hospitals in Gaza.

The Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues is coordinating Germany’s contribution

Foreign Minister Baerbock appointed the seasoned career diplomat Deike Potzel as Germany’s Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues to coordinate Germany’s contribution. In this role, she serves as a counterpart to US Special Envoy David Satterfield and as a central German point of contact for stakeholders in the region. The Special Envoy’s work is embedded in international efforts to mitigate the humanitarian crisis in which Gaza’s civilian population finds itself as a result of Hamas’ terrorist attacks.

As part of humanitarian shuttle diplomacy in the region, the Special Envoy serves as a point of contact for UN organisations (OCHA, UNRWA, WFP, UNICEF) and the ICRC as well as international and regional partners. She is also in close contact with those responsible for humanitarian assistance in the region and in our partners’ capitals. Her work builds on Germany’s long-standing humanitarian commitment, as well as efforts for peace and stability in the region.

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