Emergency Update: Humanitarian Response to Israel-Hamas War 


Humanitarian Crisis

Medical aid for Anera in Gaza and the West Bank is staged for delivery at Direct Relief's headquarters on Oct. 18, 2023. The aid was prepared prior to the Israel-Hamas war but was held pending the reopening of a humanitarian corridor into the Palestinian territories. (Direct Relief staff photo)

The Gaza blockade resulting from the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel has halted established aid routes that, historically, have been the approved channels through which Direct Relief has provided medical aid to people in Gaza, consistent with U.S. law and with the approval of the Israeli government.

However, with Israel’s announcement today permitting humanitarian aid to flow from Egypt into Gaza, Direct Relief is actively working to resume medical aid shipments in coordination with global agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and in accordance with U.S. sanctions and Israeli authorities’ approval.

Moreover, Direct Relief continues to support its longstanding regional partners, including Anera, an international nonprofit registered in both the U.S. and Israel, which has a long record of providing humanitarian assistance in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, and Lebanon.

Direct Relief has nine medical aid consignments prepared and ready to ship via air from its medical distribution facility to Gaza and the West Bank, which Anera requested prior to the terror attack last week by Hamas. Packed with essential medications, including chronic disease drugs, these shipments were placed on hold, pending confirmation of their proper storage, safe transit, and pre-arranged clearances with Israeli and other relevant authorities.

Direct Relief has also approved a $100K emergency grant to help Anera evacuate its Gaza staff and support their ongoing efforts to assist civilians in Gaza amid a pressing and rapidly unfolding humanitarian situation.

This follows Direct Relief’s commitment of $1 million in financial assistance to Israel in response to last week’s terror attack by Hamas.

The following five Israeli organizations will each receive a $200K grant for their efforts to serve Israel’s diverse population:

  • Joint Distribution Committee (JDC): A century-old establishment, JDC is known for its global disaster responses. It aims to support hospitals in Israel to deal with the ongoing crisis.
  • Magen David Adom (MDA): Founded in 1930, MDA serves as Israel’s principal organization for disaster relief, blood services, and ambulance transportation.
  • NATAL: With over two decades in trauma treatment, NATAL provides invaluable support to those affected by traumatic incidents.
  • United Hatzalah: Israel’s largest volunteer organization, United Hatzalah, offers quick emergency medical services nationwide. 
  • ZAKA: Recognized by the UN, ZAKA Search and Rescue provides swift assistance during mass casualty situations globally and has paramedics ready throughout Israel.

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