FAQ on October 2023 War in Palestine-Israel

As warfare continues, the humanitarian needs continue to be immense. There is a great need for medicines and medical supplies, shelter, food, water, hygiene items and other humanitarian essentials for those who lose their homes already or will be displaced. More than half of Gaza has been evacuated, this in a place where where 70% of the residents were already refugees. The displaced are in temporary shelters, at extended family members' homes, and schools. Anera is not providing shelter; however, we are delivering hot meals, food parcels and hygiene kits. When there is a safe humanitarian corridor, we will scale up our existing response to bring in more emergency healthcare supplies, medicines, water, clothing, food and more. 

Anera has worked in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem for 55 years. Our staff there work out of four offices and two distribution centers. They have built deep connections with local community organizations, healthcare centers, co-operatives, schools and more to pinpoint the immediate and ongoing needs of vulnerable communities in Palestine. 

In coordination with other humanitarian actors, and in consultation with our local partners, our Palestinian staff determine which needs are most pressing and we act quickly through our network to provide them.

Anera’s staff in Gaza have been able to buy, within Gaza itself, food from trusted, vetted vendors in order to make hot meals and put together parcels for distribution to displaced families. This is also true for hygiene kits and medical supplies.

We also are prepositioning medical aid shipments and other relief supplies to go into Gaza as soon as a humanitarian corridor opens. We will scale up our response to fill as many of the immense needs as possible.

We will also use funds for longer term relief and development projects.

The trusted vendors Anera works with have stocks and supplies available from before the war. We had agreements with these vendors from previous distributions. The stocks are not free, but Anera had the immediate funds to buy them.

Our interventions distribute food and other relief items equitably to shelters around Gaza. 

The truth is, no one is really safe in Gaza right now. Almost all of Anera’s staff have been displaced from their homes and are staying in shelters with little food, water or electricity. Despite the very difficult circumstances, however, some have chosen to do everything they can to deliver aid to their fellow Gazans, despite the dangers. Their work is nothing short of heroic.

When emergencies occur, coordination is vital. The UN leads coordinating “clusters” covering areas such as health, food security, protection, water and sanitation, and shelter to ensure that there are few gaps and overlaps in the assistance delivered by humanitarian organizations. Anera is an active participant in the UN clusters and will respond accordingly and within Anera’s mandate.

Since October 7, Anera’s team in Gaza has collected and distributed items, such as food and hygienic supplies, from local vendors. On November 3, Anera received its first shipment of external aid into Gaza after extensive coordination from our staff members based in Jordan and the West Bank.

Since then, our team has successfully organized the delivery of more external supplies and continues to work tirelessly to get aid into Gaza. To do so, Anera’s team works with the appropriate parties, such as governments and other humanitarian actors. The amount of aid currently entering Gaza is not consistent and certainly not nearly enough to meet the needs of this humanitarian catastrophe.

We encourage you to share our call for more aid to be allowed in, including, most crucially, fuel.

Anera has 12 staff working out of our Gaza City office and distribution center. They all come from the communities they serve, so they are able to quickly identify areas of need and respond immediately as funds become available. 

When you use the Gaza emergency response link to donate, the funds you give go directly to Anera’s response to the catastrophe befalling Gaza. When you give through the general donate link, you are making an unrestricted donation in support of Anera’s work across all three countries.

While we appreciate the thoughtfulness that caring people invest in these collection efforts, for the most part we cannot accept these kinds of donations from individuals. Instead, we encourage people to donate money. This is for multiple reasons:

Volume. Anera typically sends 20- and 40-foot containers of donated medicines and relief supplies to the Middle East. This is by far the most cost-effective way to send donated goods as a container can fit a enormous volume of materials and many of our wonderful in-kind donors cover the cost of shipping.

Storage. Some organizations and individuals have asked us if we can include supplies from them in one of the containers we are already planning to ship. Unfortunately, the answer is still no. Anera does not maintain U.S.-based warehouse space. The containers we send to the Middle East are shipped directly from the warehouses of our medical donation partners. For safety and quality control reasons, these donors will not allow Anera to add donations to their carefully inspected and professionally packed containers.

Speed and Expense. It is a much slower process to bring goods in from abroad rather than to purchase them locally. To do so, Anera would need to get the customs export and import documentation in order; arrange for and cover the cost of shipping; get the items approved through local authorities (which takes 6 weeks at a minimum); pay for the costs of clearance, storage, demurrage, and transportation to our local warehouse; receive and inventory them in the warehouse; and then finally distribute them. All told, this can cost us upwards of $20,000. With funds in hand, staff can immediately and specifically respond to the needs on the ground as they arise. This approach has the added benefit of supporting the local economy.

Anera does accept in-kind donations from established organizations, such as AmeriCares, Direct Relief, Lutheran World Relief, and United Methodist Committee on Relief. These are organizations whose business is to send in-kind donations – from medicines and supplies to hygiene kits and baby care items – to the communities that need them most. Having done this work for decades, they have an effective and well-tested set of processes designed to respond specifically to the needs Anera communicates to them through our on-the-ground staff. Read more about our in-kind work in Gaza.

The extent and reach of our response depend on the amount of donations Anera receives. The best way for you to help people in Gaza is to spread the word about what is happening there and how Anera is addressing their needs. Forward our emails, share our Facebook, Instagram and website postings, retweet our Twitter posts, and/or pass along our newsletters and mail appeals. More people need to be aware of what Anera is, why we can be trusted, and how we are making a difference. As one of our supporters, you are the best and most credible Anera advocate in your community of friends, family and colleagues.

Typically, most medicines Anera delivers are donated by reputable organizations, not purchased. In emergency situations, however, purchasing can be the quickest way to get the medicines to where they are urgently needed. We go to vetted, pharmaceutical manufacturers in the area to make those purchases and to support the local Palestinian economy.

Anera is well known in Palestine, where our programs have had a big impact on people’s lives. In order to maintain our very low fundraising and overhead expenses, we have historically limited our advertising and marketing expenditures. Anera depends mainly on dedicated supporters to spread the word about our impact and efficiency.

Please forward our emails, share our Facebook, Instagram and website postings, retweet our Twitter posts, and/or pass along our newsletters and mail appeals. More people need to be aware of what Anera is, why we can be trusted, and how we are making a difference. As one of our supporters, you are the best and most credible Anera advocate in your community of friends, family and colleagues.

Anera’s policy is to supply assistance to only legitimate and capable institutions and to comply with U.S. laws. We filter individuals and agencies against computerized lists of terrorist organizations cited by the U.S. Treasury Department on its Office of Foreign Assets Control list. Because Hamas is designated as a “terrorist group” by the U.S. State Department, Anera does not work or even coordinate with them.

Anera’s local staff evaluates our partners and assesses accountability, management, technical capacity, community outreach, etc. Through this process we determine if the institution is capable and eligible to receive Anera’s help.

When a project is completed, detailed financial and program evaluation reports are generated. Robust monitoring and evaluation systems are used and are regularly upgraded. In this manner, Anera continually evaluates projects from a fiscal and impact standpoint.

Anera is audited annually by independent auditors like Price Waterhouse (see our most recent audit) and we follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, which are standard financial guidelines for most non-governmental organizations. This measures many of the benefits and the success of each program. Read our accountability statement.

In our registration in 1968 with the Israeli government, Anera is restricted to serving the Palestinian people. Anera operates in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon.

Anera does not provide aid to individuals. We work through trusted local partner organizations to deliver our programs.

We currently do not accept volunteers. If you’d like to get involved and support Anera, please consider other ways to help: https://www.anera.org/how-to-help/

If jobs become available, they will be posted on our website with specific instructions on how to apply: anera.org/who-we-are/join-our-team/

 Please contact Steve Fake at [email protected] for media inquiries.