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The Deir Al Balah Primary School, run by the U.N. in southern Gaza has become a place of refuge for families fleeing the war from northern and central Gaza.

Alef Multimedia Company/Oxfam

Gaza and Israel emergency appeal

Millions of people including children in Palestine are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

The humanitarian needs in Gaza are enormous following the violent attacks by Palestinian armed groups and Israel’s retaliatory siege and airstrikes in October 2023. More than 2 million people face a massive crisis, as electricity, fuel, food, and water remain cut off, and incoming aid isn’t enough to handle the enormous scope of needs. There is an increasing risk of famine in Gaza.

People have lost their loved ones, their homes, and their livelihoods. They urgently need food, water, medicine, safe shelter, and proper water and sanitation facilities. Families are facing an immediate public health crisis on top of the ongoing safety risks posed by the conflict.

Oxfam is advocating for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages, and full humanitarian access to Gaza.

What is Oxfam doing to help families and children in Gaza?

In the period following the beginning of hostilities in early October 2023, Oxfam has supported the distribution of cash, food, and hygiene items to people in Gaza. In early November 2023, Oxfam began providing food to people from Gaza who were working in the West Bank in October 2023 and have been unable to return home, serving three hot meals per day to more than 1,000 people in Ramallah and Jericho.

Oxfam is in discussions with partners about mounting a more comprehensive humanitarian response in Gaza that will begin as soon as is safely possible and likely continue for two years.

The Palestinian Agriculture Relief Committee is providing packages of fresh produce for families displaced by conflict in southern Gaza.
The Palestinian Agriculture Relief Committee is providing packages of fresh produce for families displaced by conflict in southern Gaza. PARC/Oxfam

Aid for families in Gaza

Cash: In October 2023, Oxfam distributed cash to 189 families (approximately 1,134 individuals) in Gaza. With support from Oxfam, the Cultural & Free Thought Association (CFTA) provided cash to an additional 228 families. Cash assistance continues in 2024: 300 households are receiving a third round of cash, and an additional 400 families will receive one cash disbursement.

Food: Oxfam procured 1,000 food kits that contained staple items such as bulgur wheat, dates, powdered milk, tea, cheese, and sugar. These were distributed to displaced families in southern Gaza by Palestinian Environmental Friends (PEF), Al Bayader, and CFTA in November 2023. In December, the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Committee, began distributing 4,750 vegetable parcels to internally displaced families in southern Gaza. The contents of these parcels were sourced from the local market to support the community and local economy. In early 2024, Ma'an Development Centre, is delivering food parcels to 1,600 households.

Hygiene items: To help people keep clean and avoid water-borne diseases, Oxfam, PEF, and others are procuring and distributing hygiene kits to displaced people seeking shelter in southern Gaza. PEF distributed 1,000 kits that included soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, laundry and dish detergent, shaving cream and razors, and menstrual pads. In the next phase of our response, we will provide equipment for treating and safely storing water, commodes, water containers, and water testing kits. Thousands of additional hygiene kits are arriving by truck in early 2024.

Water: Oxfam and PEF are installing wells and water treatment units to make the salty ground water in Gaza drinkable for families. They will also install water storage bladders and transport water by truck along with other water storage containers.

The plans include building and installing 200 toilets, 128 handwashing stations, and 67 showers, complete with lighting and door-locking systems and grab rails to provide security and support for persons with additional needs.

In early 2024 Oxfam and PEF are reporting they have installed two desalination units at wells in southern Gaza now supplying water to 10,000 people. Six additional desalination units are expected as soon as the shipment is approved. Water trucks are now serving more than 7,500 people in five locations. They have installed 18 latrine blocks and more than 20 additional blocks are under construction. The initiative intends to reach 25,600 people between January and March 2024 and will cost $2 million.

Oxfam is working with the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility and Palestinian Environmental Friends Association to install 11 solar-powered water desalination units at wells that can serve 10,000 people displaced by the conflict in Gaza.
Oxfam is working with the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility and Palestinian Environmental Friends Association to install 11 solar-powered water desalination units at wells that can serve 10,000 people displaced by the conflict in Gaza. Alef Multimedia Company/Oxfam

Advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza

In the United States, Oxfam is working with allied organizations to urge the U.S. government to support an immediate permanent ceasefire as essential to preventing further civilian loss of life, the immediate return of all hostages, and delivery of humanitarian aid. Nearly 1 million people in the United States signed a petition delivered to the White House in late November 2023 that urged President Biden to help end the fighting.


“We need a permanent ceasefire in order to enable humanitarian organizations to deliver much-needed aid safely and securely,” said Scott Paul, Oxfam’s associate director of peace and security. He called for “an end of the siege of Gaza, full humanitarian access, and the safe return of all the hostages to Israel.”

Ceasefire now: Sign the petition

Important information about Oxfam’s work in Gaza

Oxfam's position on the conflict

We condemn all attacks, violence, and targeting of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. Attacks that deliberately target civilians are never justifiable. Parties to the conflict must respect international law and return all hostages. We have witnessed the deadliest day for civilians in the history of modern Israel and the deadliest year in the West Bank since UN records began. The protection of all civilians is paramount.

We call for an immediate ceasefire. Civilians are experiencing unimaginable suffering. Israel is entitled to defend its people against armed attacks. It also has a duty to ensure the safety of people under occupation in Gaza. The cycle of violence must end in order to bring real security for Palestinians and Israelis.

Humanitarian aid and commercial goods must be allowed to flow, in safety, to those people most in need. All humanitarian operations are effectively frozen during hostilities. Ordinary civilians are bearing brunt of the violence and are cut off from vital humanitarian aid, basic commodities, and public services.

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