FAQs on the Gaza War
and Anera's Humanitarian Response

FAQs About Anera's Humanitarian Pause in Gaza

As of April 11, 2024

The attack that killed seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers was part of the same pattern of attacks on humanitarian aid workers that claimed the life of Anera’s staff member Mousa Shawwa last month. More than 200 humanitarian aid workers have been killed trying to deliver aid to people facing increasingly dire circumstances.

After six months of constant bombing and flagrant violations of international law, and at the request of our Gaza team, Anera decided to temporarily pause our operations on April 2.

Following international attention and pressure regarding the safety of aid workers and public statements by the US and Israeli authorities, Anera’s President and CEO Sean Carroll received assurance that certain measures would be taken to protect not just Anera’s own staff members but all humanitarian aid workers in Gaza.

This level of assurance had not been provided before (though it should be a given) and we remain cautiously optimistic that the circumstances surrounding the death of Mousa Shawwa and the workers from WCK will not be repeated. As of April 11, Anera has officially resumed all aid operations in Gaza.

The pause was implemented due to safety concerns for our staff and recipients. Although the situation in Gaza has always been dangerous – killing tens of thousands of Palestinians, hundreds of healthcare frontliners, and more than 200 aid workers – our Gaza staff drew a line once news broke that World Central Kitchen aid workers - their colleagues and friends - in three clearly labeled aid convoys, were struck by an Israeli airstrike. Something needed to change.

Since the pause, Anera leadership has advocated daily and stridently with US and Israeli authorities to ensure the safety of humanitarian staff in Gaza. We are cautiously hopeful that the assurances we have received will match the demands for the full safety and security of all aid workers in Gaza. With these assurances, our Palestinian staff in Gaza are eager and ready to fully resume operations.

Anera’s operations in Gaza have fully returned, meaning that Anera will resume all deliveries of hot meals, food parcels and vegetable baskets. We will also continue our free healthcare days, psychosocial activities for children, and distributions of non-food items like bedding, tents and hygiene items.

Coordination of trucks never paused, so our distribution centers in Gaza are full and ready for immediate use in our aid operations.

On April 11, Anera received a direct commitment from the Israeli Defence Forces that there will be no firing at humanitarian missions under any circumstances or "near" any humanitarian mission unless there is a suspected armed militant in the area. Any firing into that area would be decided by a senior officer, not by a technical officer. We also were assured that there will be no collateral damage to humanitarians or humanitarian missions.

Anera has also been invited to have a representative in the southern command, where the Coordination and Liaison Administration for Gaza sits.

Several things have come to pass: a withdrawal of many Israeli troops from Gaza, direct assurances for safeguarding Anera staff from Israeli officials (as outlined above), and increased pressure from the US government on Israel to change their modalities in Gaza. As a result of these three developments, Anera has some confidence of greater protection for our staff and their families. Our staff in Gaza want to return to delivering aid.

In the end, however, those of us who work in the humanitarian space in Gaza must proceed cautiously and hope that the assurances we have received will match the demands for the full safety and security of all aid workers in Gaza. We must all remain vigilant for any indications that the safety of humanitarian staff and operations is compromised.

Anera received confirmation that more trucks would be allowed into Gaza through Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings, and into the new seaport. We are also actively working to prepare distribution centers at the seaport and near Erez for when that crossing opens up to aid. Anera will continue to coordinate with Israeli authorities to ensure that aid is getting into Gaza in a timely manner. Items being shipped into Gaza include food, water, medical supplies, and shelter. Thus far, Anera has received 416 truckloads of aid into Gaza, or about 15 per week on average. We hope to significantly increase that volume.

General Gaza FAQs

Since October 7, Anera’s team in Gaza has delivered many millions of humanitarian relief items. Anera does this principally in two ways: using cash donations to procure goods locally from known and trusted vendors and farmers; and receiving items donated from other partners and donors who arrange to get those goods trucked into Gaza.

Some of these goods trucked in are designated to go directly to Anera (273 truckloads as of Feb. 22, 2024), while other goods are brought in by and/or delivered to other organizations and agencies, such as UN agencies, who then partner with Anera to deliver them “the last mile” to the intended beneficiaries. In either case, Anera packages (or cooks) and delivers that aid to those who need it most.

To make this happen, Anera’s teams in Gaza, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Cairo, Amman and the US work together and with the appropriate parties, such as governments, military-civilian coordinators, logistics companies, and humanitarian actors, including some 30 other partners, to coordinate the necessary arrangements. It is not easy, and we are not getting either the quantities or speed needed, but our team knows how to work to get things moving towards our target outcomes.

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.

With the ongoing crisis exacerbating hunger and thirst, especially as Ramadan approaches, your contribution can provide crucial relief. Anera, with its long-standing presence and experience in Gaza, is distributing food parcels and managing community kitchens to ensure families have access to nutritious meals, particularly during Ramadan. Your donation can provide a hot meal to displaced families in Gaza, serving as their only source of sustenance to start and break their fasts. Your generosity is instrumental in supporting Anera's relief efforts and offering hope for a better future for Palestinians in Gaza.

Anera has set up five tekias in southern Gaza – three in Rafah, one in Khan Younis and one in the middle area, all in locations where displaced families are taking shelter. Each kitchen is staffed with multiple chefs and helpers who make scores of large pots of filling, hot meals. Each pot can make enough food to serve 300. People come to our tekias with receptacles, which volunteers fill with food, altogether serving between 50,000 and 70,000 people daily. At times, we have flour and yeast for making fresh bread.

Here are the coordinates for the six tekias in the south:

As the war continues, the humanitarian needs are immense and growing. There is a great need for medicines and medical supplies, shelter, food, water, hygiene items and other humanitarian essentials for the more than three-quarters of Gaza residents who've been displaced. People are in temporary shelters, extended family members' homes, tents, and even sleeping exposed on the streets.

Anera is delivering hot meals, food parcels, water, hygiene kits, blankets and mattresses. We are also coordinating field health clinic days with free medical supplies, psychosocial activities for children, and distributions of vouchers for winter clothing.

Anera has worked in Palestine for 56 years. Our staff there work out of four offices and four distribution centers. They have built deep connections with local community organizations, healthcare centers, co-operatives and schools to pinpoint and respond to 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.

From the beginning of the war, Anera’s staff in Gaza has 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.

After October 21, when outside aid was permitted to enter the territory, Anera began bringing in trucks carrying food, water, charcoal, medicines, bedding, hygiene items and more. Our teams in Egypt and Jordan have been supplying a steady pipeline of shipments into Gaza.

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. 

Anera has 13 staff working in Gaza. 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. 

Our Anera team of staff works with some 450 volunteers, personnel from local organizations, vendors and suppliers on the ground.

The truth is, no one is really safe in Gaza right now. 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, they are doing 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, responding accordingly and within our mandate.

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. 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 an 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 made 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.

We have protective measures in place to ensure our aid is safely delivered to Palestinian civilians and their families. Thus far, Anera has successfully delivered and distributed approved aid into Gaza without any disruptions or interceptions. Prior to the war, we vetted all of our vendors and partners.

All aid that enters Gaza is closely monitored. The U.S. government (Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues, Amb. David Satterfield) has also confirmed that diversion of humanitarian assistance has not been a problem. As people have become increasingly desperate, crowd control has sometimes become a challenge as has been reported in the news, leading to the breakdown of orderly distributions in a few instances.

Aid is indeed reaching civilians in Gaza, the vast majority of whom are internally displaced. Our team on the ground has gone to great lengths to help their community. Unfortunately, in the current situation the humanitarian community simply cannot come close to meeting the enormous needs created by the ongoing war. While we are not able to get aid to every single person in Gaza, our team does all they can to serve as many people as possible.

While we were able to deliver aid throughout Gaza early on in our emergency response efforts, including to the north, for the sake of our team’s safety, we have since been forced to limit the areas where we distribute humanitarian aid. Our aid efforts are concentrated in Khan Younis, Rafah, and the central Gaza area where the largest concentration of displaced people reside. Due to safety concerns, we are unable to extend our operations to other regions like the north until a ceasefire is established.

Your donation to our emergency fund goes directly to the humanitarian aid we distribute to civilians in Gaza. Thanks to our donors, we have successfully delivered millions of meals — as well as hygiene kits, medical aid and clothing vouchers. Donor support has also enabled us to conduct psychosocial activities for children and maintain clean shelters, preventing the spread of disease. Anera, like many other organizations, has an abundance of aid waiting outside of Gaza’s borders, including medical and shelter supplies. Under the current security restrictions that dramatically slow importations, it is impossible for us to deliver all of this aid rapidly. A dramatic overhaul of this process is imperative to permit unrestricted amounts of aid into Gaza.

In the first weeks of the war, we were able to purchase and distribute items from vetted local vendors. Since resources are now largely depleted internally, we are working tirelessly to get aid from Egypt, Turkey and Jordan into Gaza through Rafah and any other crossings that become operational. This includes food, medical aid, hygiene items and shelter supplies. Despite the successful efforts of our staff members in Gaza to help their community, they and every civilian in Gaza deserve to live safely and receive the help they need. This will only come with a ceasefire.

No, Anera does not handle this kind of transaction. Instead, Anera uses any funds we receive on delivering programs that provide humanitarian aid or services.

Check Western Union or Bank of Palestine for sending money.

No, unfortunately, Anera does not evacuate people and we are unable to recommend other organizations that do.