Gaza gets second humanitarian aid convoy from Rafah crossing after delay but no fuel

Amr Kandil , Sunday 22 Oct 2023

Israel said it allowed the entry of humanitarian aid from Egypt to southern Gaza through the Rafah border crossing on Sunday, saying it will only “allow the entry of food, water, and medical supplies but not fuel.”

Gaza aid
A truck carrying humanitarian aid for the Gaza Strip crosses the Rafah border gate in Rafah, Egypt, Sunday, 22 October, 2023. AP


The Israeli Ministry of Defence’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said Israel allowed the aid upon request from US President Joe Biden.

The COGAT said Israeli security officials inspected all the equipment before allowing it to enter Gaza.

He warned that “any other supply attempt not coordinated and approved by Israel will be thwarted.”

The second humanitarian aid convoy comprising 17 trucks started passing into the Rafah border toward Gaza this afternoon but did not reach the enclave until nightfall.

The delay triggered concerns in Gaza amid reports that Israeli bombings near the Rafah border crossing on the Palestinian side compelled the Palestinian trucks preparing to receive aid from the trucks from Egypt to halt the operation and return to the strip empty-handed.

Salama Maarouf, head of the government media office in Gaza, warned today of a possible “humanitarian catastrophe” in the coming days due to a shortage in medical supplies, food, and fuel.

He added that the Gaza health ministry has yet to receive any of the medical supplies that entered since Saturday.

On Saturday, 20 trucks carrying food and medical supplies crossed into Gaza through the Rafah border crossing to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to 2.3 million Palestinians, who have been under a complete Israeli blockade - food, water, and fuel - for two weeks.

Maarouf stressed that yesterday's aid does not suffice for a single shelter out of the 220 where most displaced Gazan people reside.

“If this mechanism (lack of aid) continues, it will mean accepting that a terrible humanitarian catastrophe will occur in the Gaza Strip, a humanitarian catastrophe in every sense of the word,” he warned.

Maarouf highlighted the necessity of keeping the Rafah crossing open permanently during the current crisis and ensuring the smooth delivery of humanitarian aid by establishing safe corridors.

Fuel running out

He also called for urgent entry of fuel to operate ambulances, civil protection and rescue vehicles, and hospital generators, warning that the strip was running out of fuel.

Associated Press journalists saw seven fuel trucks head into Gaza. However, Touma and the Israeli military said those trucks were taking fuel stored on the Gaza side of the crossing deeper into the territory and that no fuel had entered from Egypt.

It has been reported that the Rafah border crossing will open tomorrow to allow 40 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid to cross from Egypt to Gaza. There is no confirmation whether that aid will contain fuel.

‘Vulnerable groups at high risk’

According to UN figures, Israeli strikes over the past two weeks have killed more than 4,650 Palestinians and displaced around 1.4 million inhabitants, representing about 60 percent of the Gazan population.

Over 1.6 million individuals in Gaza are in critical need of humanitarian aid, five UN agencies said in a statement on Saturday.

Children, who make up almost half the population, are among the most vulnerable, alongside pregnant women and elderly persons, the statement stressed.

Palestinians carry belongings as they leave the destroyed al-Ahli hospital, which they were using as a shelter, in Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. AP

The statement added that health facilities in Gaza are running on a small amount of fuel, which is expected to run out in the coming few days.

“Pre-positioned humanitarian supplies have already been depleted. Vulnerable people are at greatest risk, and children are dying at an alarming rate and being denied their right to protection, food, water, and health care,” the UN agencies said.

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