Press Release

Ceasefire and Increased Aid Needed to Avoid Further Catastrophe in Gaza

February 5, 2024 | Washington, DC — As the Israeli army announces plans to move its assault on Gaza to Rafah, the last remaining area in the narrow strip designated a “safe zone” for evacuees, further civilian deaths will ensue. Without a ceasefire and a significant increase in humanitarian aid, including pledges of full funding return for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the already dire circumstances for civilians in Gaza will worsen.

Sean Carroll, Anera’s president & CEO, said today,

“More than two million people – 98.7% of them civilians – are trapped in an expanding warzone, increasingly cornered and hovering on precipices of starvation and disease. Humanitarian response remains critically hampered and is falling far short. The international community, including Israel as ordered by the International Court of Justice, must make significant changes now or many more innocent civilians will die in the days and weeks ahead.

“When I visited Gaza in December, I witnessed untenable living conditions. That was 45 days ago. The war and deprivation must end.”

Over 60% of housing units in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged. People are forced to drink polluted water and have resorted to eating grass and animal feed for sustenance. Diarrhea and malnutrition among young children has skyrocketed. Overcrowded shelters without proper sanitation are creating enormously high rates of transmissible diseases.

Following Israeli allegations that some members of UNRWA’s staff in Gaza participated in the October 7 attacks in Israel, on Friday, January 26, the United States, followed by a number of other donor nations, suspended funding to UNRWA. The UN agency has warned that it will likely be forced to shutter its operations across the Middle East at the end of February unless funding is restored.

UNRWA is Gaza’s primary service provider and the primary agency coordinating relief efforts. The pause of up to 70% of its funding poses a significant threat to addressing the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn territory as more than three-quarters of the population is displaced and over 80% is experiencing famine or catastrophic hunger.

Anera, along with other humanitarian organizations and United Nations agencies, urges reconsideration of the funding suspensions to prevent deepening the grave humanitarian crisis impacting 2.3 million people in Gaza.


For more information:

Steven Fake
Media Relations Officer
+1 202.266.9719
[email protected]