CAIRO, Egypt – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) executive director, Cindy McCain issued an urgent plea from the Rafah border crossing for safe, expanded humanitarian access to Gaza as humanitarian needs skyrocket and critical food supplies reach dangerously low levels.
For the past few weeks, entry points into Gaza have been virtually sealed except through the Rafah border crossing point. While there has been a steady increase in aid entering Gaza, it is nowhere near enough to meet the exponentially growing needs.
“Right now, parents in Gaza do not know whether they can feed their children today and whether they will even survive to see tomorrow. The suffering just meters away is unfathomable standing on this side of the border,” said Cindy McCain as she returned from the Rafah border crossing in Egypt.
“Today, I’m making an urgent plea for the millions of people whose lives are being torn apart by this crisis,” she added.
McCain is concluding a two-day visit to Egypt, during which she met with Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, senior government officials, and visited the Egyptian Red Crescent’s humanitarian staging hub in Al Arish. She also inspected the rapid expansion of logistical operations and monitoring systems at the Rafah border crossing, which are crucial for providing vital assistance to people within Gaza.
“We appreciate all efforts to facilitate a steady flow of humanitarian supplies through its border with Gaza, and the work of the Egyptian Red Crescent is remarkable. We need to continue to work together to get safe and sustained access to Gaza at a scale that aligns with the catastrophic conditions facing families there,” McCain noted.
During her visit, McCain explored opportunities for WFP to leverage its extensive expertise in logistics during emergencies to further strengthen collaboration with partners such as the Egyptian Red Crescent to scale up the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza. She applauded the efforts of their volunteers who have worked tirelessly to get lifesaving assistance to their neighbours.
“The crisis in Gaza is not just a local tragedy, it’s a stark reminder that our global food crisis is worsening. Not only does this crisis threaten regional peace and stability, it undermines our collective efforts to combat hunger worldwide,” McCain noted.
WFP is scaling up to reach more than one million people with urgent food assistance in the next few weeks. More than 650,000 people in Gaza and the West Bank have received food and cash assistance from WFP since 07 October. WFP is distributing fresh bread, date bars, and canned food to families in UN shelters every day, and food parcels to displaced families in host communities. WFP continues to provide cash-based transfers to people residing in communities so they can buy the food available in shops that are still open.