How is aid getting into Gaza?

With more than 1.5 million people in Gaza at risk of famine, safe and unimpeded aid access is desperately needed. But how will it get delivered?

The humanitarian situation in Gaza, and particularly Rafah, grows more desperate by the day. Aid routes close and reopen, but the people of Gaza cannot wait.

More than 1.5 million people now face the threat of starvation, and the entire 2.2 million population faces acute food insecurity. The situation is catastrophic and people’s lives hang in the balance.

Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement colleagues are working tirelessly to facilitate the delivery of aid, and in the last seven months the Palestine Red Crescent Society has reached over 1.3 million people with, food parcels, hygiene kits, blankets and other basic essentials.

But it is not enough. A greatly increased and regular flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza is needed, and humanitarian workers must be able to safely distribute this aid across Gaza. 

Is aid getting into Gaza?

As of this week, aid has not been able to get into Gaza via the Rafah crossing. This critically impedes the lifesaving humanitarian support systems which people in Gaza rely on for survival.

Before the conflict began in October last year, 400-500 trucks entered Gaza every single day. Since then aid has been entering Gaza, but the amount has fluctuated since and has been consistently and significantly below the amount required.

At the start of the year, only 135 trucks a day were able to enter, falling to 60 in mid-February.

According to our Palestine Red Crescent Society colleagues, more than 200 trucks have been entering Gaza daily in recent weeks, through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom/Karem Abu Salem crossings.

However, this is still nowhere near enough to meet the vast humanitarian needs in Gaza.

What's the aid situation like in Gaza?

Over 1.5 million people are now living in dire conditions in Rafah. The area is overcrowded, many people are living on the streets with only cardboard or scraps of wood for shelter.

Most people in Rafah have already been displaced multiple times. Much of the remaining health infrastructure still functioning in Gaza is located in Rafah, meaning an already devastated health system now risks complete collapse. There is a lack of food, drinking water, sanitation, healthcare, and safety.

In early May, hostilities in Rafah intensified. People here live in a state of fear every minute of the day. Less aid means less chance of survival.

Sumiko was recently deployed with the IFRC to act as an Operations Manager for the Middle East crisis emergency appeal. She says: “It’s nearly two million people within a tiny area of Gaza.

“From a humanitarian perspective, we just need to focus on the civilians affected and what we can do to support them during this complex crisis.”

What’s the quickest and best way to get aid into Gaza?

The quickest way to get aid into Gaza is to increase the aid passing through established crossings like Rafah, Kerem Shalom/Karem Abu Salem and Erez/Beit Hanoun.

Delivering aid by land is the most efficient and effective way into Gaza. This approach is sustainable, reliable and has been successful in the past.

How has the Red Crescent been getting aid into Gaza?

Colleagues from the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and the Egyptian Red Crescent Society (ERCS) are working day and night, risking, their lives to deliver assistance.

They have done so for seven long months, playing a critical role in getting aid across the border and distributed to people in Gaza.


The Palestine Red Crescent Society are one of very few humanitarian actors who are present in Gaza itself - from north to south.

“The Palestine Red Crescent Society are one of very few humanitarian actors who are present in Gaza itself, throughout the Gaza strip from the south to the north,” continues Sumiko.

“They have been providing assistance, not just now because of the recent conflict, but throughout the history of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.”

In Egypt, the ERCS have been playing a unique role in facilitating all the aid being delivered across the Rafah border. The National Society has been a lifeline for the people of Gaza.

At least 250 volunteers are needed every day to do this. Red Crescent staff and volunteers must register all incoming humanitarian aid and sort and repackage items so they can be transported into Gaza.

Checking each truckload, repackaging, sorting and transporting the aid for screening, then through the border, takes hours and sometimes days. The ERCS has established large-scale warehouses by the border to handle incoming aid. 

The Egyptian Red Crescent Society is in regular contact with their colleagues in Gaza, and prioritise aid delivery according to the most urgent humanitarian needs.

“The Egyptian Red Crescent has played a huge, huge, huge role in getting humanitarian assistance into Gaza through that border", Sumiko continues.

“They are receiving and transporting goods from the EU, governments and different partner National Societies, whoever wants to donate. They are the sorters, they were also mandated by the government to play that logistics role.

“The other thing the Egyptian Red Crescent are doing is receiving medical evacuees and their families.”

On the other side of the Rafah border, the Palestine Red Crescent Society has been receiving all aid deliveries so that they can be distributed to those in need. This means loading and unloading every truck by hand, to ensure the flow of aid. 

Has the Red Crescent managed to deliver aid into Gaza?

Yes – they have worked tirelessly since October 2023. To date, the Egyptian Red Crescent Society has delivered over 14,000, trucks to Gaza. These trucks have contained more than 135k tons of food and water, more than 37k tons of emergency material and more than 25k tons of medical supplies. 

In addition to the 14,000 trucks from the Rafah border, the Palestine Red Crescent Society has also received around 4,000 humanitarian trucks for processing and distribution via the Kerem Shalom/Karem Abu Salem border.

Together, these Red Crescent Societies have reached over 1.3m people with, food parcels, hygiene kits, blankets, mattresses, water jerry cans, kitchen kits and other basic essentials. Sadly, this is just not enough.

How has the British Red Cross been supporting?

During crises like the conflict in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, the entire Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement comes together.

The British Red Cross is directly supporting our partners in the Movement, including Magen David Adom in Israel and the Palestine Red Crescent Society, to respond to their communities’ urgent needs. We have provided funding as well as expert staff. Your donations have been invaluable in helping to fund this response.

British Red Cross delegate, Dragan, was deputy team leader of the Logistics Emergency Response Unit in the Ismailia warehouse. This is where goods are held and sorted by the Egyptian Red Crescent, before being transported into Gaza, via the Rafah Crossing. He says:

“In Gaza, the infrastructure is damaged, the warehouses are damaged, the structure of the Red Crescent is damaged. It's not easy for them. But the Palestine Red Crescent Society is not alone.”


How can more aid get into Gaza?

Though Gaza is facing a crisis that will not be healed by aid alone, aid agencies must be allowed to deliver more humanitarian assistance at a faster pace – and safely.

This will vastly improve people’s chances of survival. People’s lives are hanging in the balance, and aid agencies, including the Red Cross and Red Crescent, are here to safeguard civilian life and uphold human dignity.

How can people in the UK help people in Gaza?

The UN says that famine in Gaza is now imminent. But through a huge, sustained effort over a long period of time, we can avert an even greater catastrophe. We're on the ground and ready. Let's be there for people in Gaza.

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