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EU humanitarian aid blocked at the Rafah crossing

Question écrite de Mme Alessandra MORETTI - Commission européenne

Subject: EU humanitarian aid blocked at the Rafah crossing

From 3 to 6 March, a delegation from the Italian Democratic Party travelled to Egypt as part of a mission organised by the Association of Italian Organisations for International Cooperation and Solidarity (AOI network). The delegation crossed the Sinai Peninsula accompanying a humanitarian aid convoy to the Rafah crossing, where it met with the humanitarian organisations that are operating in Gaza.

The delegation noted that the Israeli authorities blocked access to the Rafah crossing to more than 1 500 trucks carrying water, food and medicines. In the logistics centre of the Egyptian Red Crescent, some essential items, such as incubators for babies, crutches and oxygen cylinders, cannot cross the border, as they are considered dangerous by the Israeli authorities. A particularly serious finding was the blocked delivery of housing modules and generators for hospitals, financed using funds from the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and the World Food Programme.

In view of this:

1. Is the Commission aware of the blockade of this humanitarian aid financed using DG ECHO funds?

2. What steps will it take to unblock the passage of this humanitarian aid as soon as possible?


Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 15 mai 2024

Answer given by Mr Lenarčič on behalf of the European Commission

(16 May 2024)

To mitigate the access restrictions to the Sinai region, as well as the difficulties of transiting into Rafah, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) launched in January 2024 a tracking system allowing donors and humanitarian partners to track entrance of humanitarian assistance via land (1).

In parallel, the Commission is accounting for the supplies transported to Al Arish (Egypt) through its Humanitarian Air Bridge (2) (HAB) initiative. 1 970 tonnes of humanitarian supplies were transported in 44 flights to Al Arish between 16 October 2023 and 19 March 2024.

Based on the figures reported so far by partners covering approximately two-thirds of the cargo, 93% of supplies entered Gaza during that period.

The Commission is aware of reports by two partners whose items were blocked at the border and will continue to monitor the situation very closely.

The Commission continues to advocate for compliance with international humanitarian law and works with Israel to expand deliveries by land, insisting that it facilitates more routes and opens additional crossings to get more aid into Gaza. Ensuring land access is essential to the humanitarian response.

Given the dramatic conditions on the ground, the Commission also supports other forms of aid delivery, including the maritime corridor and airdrops as complementary routes.

While an expansion of logistic options is welcome, they do not replace the need for an urgent expansion of existing solutions and the potential resumption of other ones.

1 ∙ ⸱ Gaza Supplies and Dispatch Tracking:

r=eyJrIjoiZTVkYmEwNmMtZWYxNy00ODhlLWI2ZjctNjIzMzQ5OGQxNzY5IiwidCI6IjI2MmY2YTQxLTIwZTktNDE0MC04ZDNlLWZkZjVlZWNiNDE 1NyIsImMiOjl9&pageName=ReportSection3306863add46319dc574 2 ∙ ⸱ The Commission activated a HAB to support humanitarian partners and Member States in the response to the crisis. A coordination platform has been established with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) facilitating the donation of more than 400 tonnes of essential material from 11 Member States.

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