10 things you should know about the humanitarian situation in Gaza

Six months of bombing, displacement, fear and hunger.

The assault on Gaza has been raging for six months. More than 108,000 people have been killed or injured across the Gaza Strip. Scores of Israeli hostages remain held, while the entire Gaza population faces the risk of famine.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is responding, mainly at collective shelters hosting thousands in Rafah and through cash aid.

Here are ten things to know about what’s happening in Gaza.

#1: More than 100,000 killed or injured

An average of nearly eight Palestinians have been killed every day for the past six months, totalling 32,975 fatalities between 7 October and 3 April, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. This figure includes at least 13,000 children. More than 75,000 Palestinians are reportedly injured.

The heinous attack perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October led to the killing of approximately 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals, with hundreds deliberately targeted and over 250 taken hostage.

#2: 1.7 million are displaced

The conflict has resulted in severe destruction and widespread forcible displacement throughout Gaza. The number of people who have fled their homes is estimated to be around 1.7 million, or 75 per cent of the total population in the Gaza Strip. Many have been displaced several times.

#3: Mass destruction of homes

At least 70,000 homes in Gaza have been destroyed, while 290,000 additional homes have been damaged, according to the Government Media Office in Gaza.

The amount of debris exceeds 8,000,000 metric tonnes and will take an estimated three years to clear.

#4: All children without education

There is no longer any formal education or schooling for Gaza’s children.

Before 7 October, UNRWA ran 40 per cent of schools in Gaza. Most of these schools have been turned into shelters, hosting over 1.2 million displaced people.

At least 5,994 students and 266 teachers have been killed. Eighty per cent of schools have been damaged (464 out of 563).

Additionally, one million children need mental health and psycho-social support.

#5: 1.1 million face food insecurity

More than one million people face catastrophic levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 5) in Gaza. Three out of ten children under the age of two in northern Gaza suffer from acute malnutrition. And one in every ten children under the age of two in Rafah suffers from acute malnutrition. Some 50,000 children are acutely malnourished at present.

Read more about the different levels of food insecurity

#6: Fuel, food and water are running out

Of the three water pipelines coming into Gaza from Israel, only one is now operational, and it’s running at 70 per cent of its full capacity.

Lack of fuel has at times led to full electricity blackout. The only operative mill cannot transform wheat due to electricity outages and many bakeries have either been bombed or have been forced to shut down due to the lack of fuel.

#7: The healthcare system has collapsed

Attacks on hospitals, limited humanitarian access, and blockades on vital medical supplies have significantly hindered the capacity of Gaza's health care facilities to provide essential treatment to those in need.

Only 33 per cent of UNRWA’s healthcare centres are operational. There has been at least 580,000 cases of acute respiratory infections and 310,000 cases of diarrhoea.

#8: Increased risk of disease

People are being forced to consume water from unsafe sources. Dehydration and waterborne diseases are becoming increasingly likely, and medicine is in short supply. There are already reports of cases of chicken pox, scabies and diarrhoea due to poor sanitation conditions and the consumption of unsafe water.

#9: Humanitarians under attack

Gaza is the most dangerous place for aid workers in the world, and nearly all Palestinian aid workers have been displaced. During the last six months, 174 UN staff members have been killed.

In addition, 484 health workers have been killed, 48 Civil Defence have been killed while on duty, and 15 staff and volunteers from the Palestine Red Crescent Society have been killed.

On 1 April, seven people working for aid charity World Central Kitchen were killed, among them was a Polish citizen, three British people, an Australian and a dual US-Canadian citizen.

#10: A devastating siege

The siege has devastated Gaza's economy, caused widespread devastation and left most people largely cut off from the outside world.

Israel continues to severely restrict the delivery of life-saving aid. Before 7 October, on average, 500 trucks would enter Gaza each working day providing fuel, food and other commercial goods. Now, the trucks trickle in.

In March, only 28 humanitarian aid missions to northern Gaza were facilitated by the Israeli authorities.

Source: UNOCHA

How is NRC responding?

Since 7 October 2023 our teams have distributed water, cash, tents, shelter kits, bedding, blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans, hygiene kits and kitchen sets to more than 100,000 individuals.

In addition, we are hosting play-based activities and psychosocial support programmes for children. These services are tailored to help children cope better with stress and trauma. We have also started parent clubs, with joint activities for both children and their parents.

We recognise that this support is not enough while the bombs continue to fall. We are therefore advocating tirelessly for a permanent ceasefire so that Palestinians in Gaza can get their lives back.

What are we asking for?

  • Adhere to international law.
    The international community must ensure respect for international law, particularly the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law and the prohibition against acts of aggression. Vigorous efforts must be made to pursue accountability for atrocity crimes committed by all parties involved.
  • Cease all hostilities.
    All parties involved in the conflict must stop the widespread civilian bloodshed, forced displacement, destruction of infrastructure, deprivation, and starvation. An immediate and enduring ceasefire, endorsed by the UN Security Council, must be respected and serve as the basis for a formal agreement to end hostilities.
  • Release all hostages.
    Hundreds of Israeli civilians have been taken hostage by armed groups in Gaza, contravening international law. Hostages should be freed unconditionally, and Palestinians detained by Israel must be treated in accordance with international law, ensuring lawful and humane treatment.
  • Protect civilians.
    All parties must adhere to the laws of war, refraining from deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and essential infrastructure vital for civilian survival. The negligence and recklessness displayed by Israel in its military operations, resulting in harm to civilians and aid workers, must cease. Israel must immediately ensure that its military operations comply with the rules of international humanitarian law, including those pertaining to the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance.
  • End arbitrary restrictions on aid.
    As the occupying power, Israel must fulfil its obligations, as ordered by the International Court of Justice, to urgently restore basic services and facilitate the unimpeded provision of humanitarian assistance to alleviate starvation. This assistance must address critical needs such as food, water, electricity, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene, sanitation, medical supplies, and healthcare for Palestinians across Gaza.
  • Lift the siege on Gaza.
    Israel must not hinder the return of a credible and accountable Palestinian government to Gaza and allow for the physical, social, economic, and political reintegration of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel must refrain from any attempts to permanently acquire territory in Gaza in violation of international law or impose demographic changes through forced displacement and deportation.