On-the-record update #4 on situation in Gaza, Palestine

Published 27. Jun 2024
Media update from the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on the latest situation in Gaza, Thursday 27 June 2024.

An update from Majed Qishawi, NRC’s Education Officer in Gaza:

“Here in Deir Al-Balah, we have two things to fear: Israeli attacks, and the near-total breakdown of law and order leading to community disputes. We don’t feel safe; at night we stay inside, and only go out during the day to work or run some errands.

“Living costs are soaring beyond comprehension. Some items have increased at least 15-fold in cost. We can’t find basic items such as hygiene items that have disappeared from the market because of a severe drop in aid and commercial trucks arriving.

“The population density is very, very high. The tents, that are meant for temporary use only, are 3x4 in size and host more than 15 people, even 20 in some cases. Then you have families who don’t even have that sheet of plastic or plank of wood to build a shelter.

“People staying close to the coast use seawater to wash, bathe and do everything else besides drinking it. Most children and people eat canned food or noodles, because it is what they can afford. People don’t have the option to worry about whether the food they are eating is safe or not. Everyone is just thinking: ‘I have to eat. My children have to eat. I have to feed them.’

“We are noticing that most children have to work to help their families. They are put at risk of violence and exploitation while trying to provide a living for the household. The pressure of what is happening wears them down. Trauma and chronic stress are recurrent.

“People are starting to experience starvation in the Middle area and in the South. All indicators say that we will reach a point where they literally can’t find anything to eat if the situation persists, if the crossing, the main source of food supplies, remains closed. Farms are all destroyed. The few existing food supplies in Gaza cannot last forever.

“It hurts to see my people on the streets, in tents pitched on the sidewalk. I see families living amidst heavy traffic and sewage water. Cars and animal-led carts drive by while children run around. The threats are too many; bombardment, the pollution, the heat. All this without access to proper food, and even if there is food, you are cooking it using a mix of plastic, cardboard, wood or anything that burns, sending so much smoke into the air.

“Imagine this scene. You see it and it repeats itself in front of you, over and over.”

Latest updates from NRC teams in Gaza:

  • NRC spoke to 1,091 families displaced by Israel’s evacuation orders in Rafah in May who stayed at NRC-supported sites:
    • 83% reported no access to food.
    • 52% said they had no access to dignified shelter.
    • On average, 9 people stayed in the same shelter.
    • 57% had no access to safe water.
    • Almost everyone had no access to adequate latrine facilities.  
  • Currently, NRC has 37 staff members in the Middle Area, five in Gaza City, one in North Gaza, and one in Khan Younis.
  • The humanitarian response south of Wadi Gaza has nearly come to a halt due to escalating security concerns, supply shortages, and coordination challenges for humanitarian organisations. As needs continue to grow, the capacity of humanitarians to respond is diminishing.
  • NRC is providing water trucking at a rate of 91,000 litres per day of drinking water to five sites in the Middle Area, serving over 20,000 individuals. Despite access challenges and aid supply shortage, NRC is also providing hygiene kits and legal assistance.
  • A high risk of famine persists across the Gaza Strip and the whole area is classified as Emergency (IPC Phase 4). 96 per cent of the population face high levels of acute food insecurity and this is predicted through September 2024, according to new figures by The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).
  • Ground incursions and heavy fighting continue to be reported across the Gaza Strip. Over one million people have been displaced from Rafah since Israeli forces began their ground operation on 7 May (UN OCHA).
  • Internally displaced persons are residing in makeshift shelters that provide little protection from the heat and no privacy or safety. The situation is dire and characterised by critical shortages in healthcare, limited access to clean water, and rampant communicable diseases due to sewage overflow, inadequate sanitation, and total lack of solid waste management.
  • Children are especially vulnerable, undertaking hazardous tasks to secure essential supplies and facing increased risks of violence and exploitation. 

Multimedia content:

For information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

  • NRC's global media hotline: media@nrc.no, +47 905 62 329
  • Ahmed Bayram, Middle East and North Africa regional media adviser: bayram@nrc.no, +962 790 160 147