A Threatened Invasion of Rafah Will Be a Catastrophe for Civilians

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Today, Israel issued evacuation orders in the form of airdropped leaflets, text messages and phone calls to the large civilian population now sheltering in Rafah, directing people in the eastern neighborhoods of Rafah to flee to Mawasi, a southern coastal area devoid of infrastructure for basic services. Most families sheltering in Rafah have already been forcibly displaced during this war — often multiple times.

An Israeli ground invasion of Rafah will exacerbate the already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza. With over 1.2 million people seeking refuge in Rafah, many with conditions that render unassisted movement impossible, the order to flee will deepen the dire scarcity of food, water and hygiene facilities. A ground assault will disrupt aid routes into Gaza at a time when the head of the World Food Programme has declared a “full-blown famine” is happening in the north and spreading south.

Anera and many other humanitarian organizations recently sent a public letter to President Biden urging the U.S. to prevent a Rafah offensive, along with taking action to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

Due to the ongoing military operations and imminent invasion of Rafah and for the safety of our staff, our team has evacuated the area and temporarily suspended operations in Rafah until conditions allow for a safe return. We remain committed to extending aid to secure areas whenever and wherever possible. Our team continues to operate in Khan Younis, Deir Al Balah and the north. We are closely monitoring the situation and implementing all necessary measures to prioritize staff safety and determine how best to continue delivering essential aid in the current circumstances.

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