UN World Food Programme

WFP Builds Up Food Stocks in Gaza Strip

Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, April 2007 WFP beneficairies preparing food using vegetable oil provided by WFP, Bani Naim, Hebron, West bank. Photo:WFP/Nir Kafri

WFP moved 11 truckloads of food into Gaza on Monday as part of efforts to respond to the growing humanitarian needs.

Since the recent upsurge in conflict, WFP has delivered some 1,600 tons of food into Gaza, where the agency's warehouses are stocked with some 3,700 metric tons -- about half their normal capacity. 

That is enough to feed 265,000 people for two months. However, WFP needs to keep up the flow of food into Gaza, to avoid breaks in the supply line in the coming months that will leave people hungry and without the nutrition they need. 

Distributions of food assistance have been badly hampered by security constraints. Truckers contracted to transport food from the southern town of Kerem Shalom, where the 11 trucks arrived on Monday, were unwilling to do the job because of concerns about their safety. 

Safety concerns

The same concerns are limiting the ability of both beneficiaries and WFP's co-operating partners to reach distribution points. 

Civilians are finding it increasingly difficult to find food in Gaza, with few commodities available on the market. Bakeries have been running out of wheat flour and on Monday only 12 out of 47 bakeries were functioning. 

WFP has been delivering flour to bakeries to provide baked bread to the civilian population. WFP-contracted bakeries can now produce 5,000 3-kg bread parcels per day. However, it is still difficult to get the bread from the bakeries to the people who need it most. 

Canned meat and biscuits

Since 29 December, WFP has succeeded in reaching some 50,000 beneficiaries in Gaza, plus a further 15,000 people who have received bread. In addition, WFP canned meat and High Energy Biscuits have been delivered to 13 Gaza hospitals, sufficient for some 6,000 patients and staff for up to one month. 

WFP is calling for all parties to allow a “breathing space” to carry out an assessment of the needs of the most vulnerable people in Gaza before resuming full-scale distributions. 

Because of new displacements caused by the hostilities, WFP estimates that a further 50,000 people in Gaza will require our assistance over the coming weeks, requiring an additional US$9 million in funding.