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UK sends 150 tonnes of aid to Gaza

Another 150 tonnes of UK aid entered Gaza on Wednesday as the Government announced an additional £10 million in funding to support the stricken territory.

This week is also expected to see the arrival of a full field hospital in Gaza, funded by UK Aid, that will be staffed by local and international medics and can treat more than 100 patients a day.

The extra aid comes as the Foreign Secretary continues to urge Israel to increase the capacity to safely distribute aid within Gaza, including by opening a land crossing in the north of the territory and issuing more visas to UN staff.

Lord David Cameron said: “Too many people in Gaza are suffering. No-one should be without basic amenities like shelter and bedding, and everyone deserves the dignity that basic hygiene kits provide.

“Our largest aid delivery, combined with a new UK field hospital, will save lives.

“But an immediate pause in the fighting is the only way to get aid into Gaza in the quantities desperately needed.

“This will also allow for the safe release of hostages. We could then work towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire, without a return to destruction, fighting or loss of life.”

Wednesday’s aid delivery included 840 family-sized tents, 3,000 shelter kits, 6,000 sleeping mats and more than 13,000 blankets, along with more than 3,000 “dignity kits” to help women and girls.

The UK has also pledged an extra £10 million in aid funding, bringing its total contribution to more than £100 million this financial year.

According to a Unicef report at the end of 2023, an estimated 3.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, with half a million at risk of famine.

The figures include all 335,000 children aged under five in the Gaza Strip, who were at high risk of severe malnutrition and preventable death.

Charity ActionAid welcomed the delivery of aid to Gaza, but described it as “little more than a sticking plaster on a gaping wound”.

Julia Rosell Jackson, senior humanitarian advocacy adviser at ActionAid, said: “The delivery of over 3,000 period products to women and girls will provide small relief, but nearly 700,000 women and girls are unable to access sanitary pads, and many are resorting to using tent scraps as an unsafe and unhygienic alternative.

“When women are giving birth to stillborn babies as they are so severely malnourished amid an acute hunger crisis in northern Gaza and a total collapse of the healthcare system, such a small delivery of aid will do practically nothing to avert the absolute humanitarian crisis facing millions of Palestinians.

“A quarter of Gaza’s population is at risk of famine so it’s extremely disappointing to see that none of the aid mentioned involves food to stave off looming famine.

“With children dying of malnutrition, the Foreign Secretary’s call for a pause will do nothing to deliver aid at the scale needed.

“As aid workers, we cannot provide effective relief whilst bombs rain down. It’s time for these horrors to end – we need an immediate ceasefire now.”