On October 7, the Government of Israel declared war, after Palestinian armed groups breached the security barrier at several points resulting in significant loss of life while simultaneously lunching barrage of rockets into Israel. The declaration of war has initiated a series of airstrikes on the densely populated Gaza Strip. This offensive has led to the loss of thousands of Palestinian lives, over 50% of them are women and children, and over 6 thousand individuals sustaining injuries. The ongoing hostilities have created a dire humanitarian crisis, with homes, schools, medical facilities, and critical infrastructure being extensively damaged or destroyed.
The impact of this conflict has forced approximately 400,000 of Gaza’s 2.2 million residents to flee their homes, either out of fear for their lives or due to the destruction caused by airstrikes. Many have sought refuge in UNRWA schools and churches even though some of these shelters have also been damaged by airstrikes. The number of those affected by the hostilities is anticipated to rise. The Israeli government on 13 October, has requested the Palestinians to ‘relocate to southern Gaza immediately’ without any guarantee for their safety or their return, this concerns almost 1.2 million people residents in the northern parts of Gaza.
Furthermore, Israeli authorities have cut off the water supply to Gaza, exacerbating an already severe shortage of potable water. A complete siege ordered by the Israeli government has severed access to electricity, food, and fuel, further aggravating the dire humanitarian situation. Gazans now have access to electricity for only 3-4 hours per day, hindering the functioning of health facilities and the treatment of the injured.
As a result of the war in Gaza there has been an escalation of tension and this has led to increased violence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including confrontations, casualties, settler-related violence, and attacks on healthcare, for the seventh consecutive day.
ACT Palestine Forum members DSPR, LWF and ELCJHL are requesting to activate the ACT humanitarian mechanism for an appeal for responding to the urgent needs with special focus on people who have been directly affected by the current conflict.