Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East

Israelis and Palestinians have suffered unfathomable terror, violence, and trauma — which is deepening by the day as the crisis engulfing Gaza, Israel, and the Middle East region escalates. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has repeatedly called for a humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages, adherence to the principles of international humanitarian and human rights law, and the delivery of life-saving supplies at the scale needed. Leaders throughout the UN system are actively engaged in intense diplomacy, with the priority to avoid further loss of civilian life.

The number of dead and wounded is swiftly rising, while more than 1.5 million Palestinians are internally displaced as it becomes increasingly difficult for civilians to find safety within Gaza. The UN has warned that “failure to act now will have consequences far beyond the region, because this is a global crisis.”

From the UN: Trusted News Updates


How the UN is responding

Amid the devastating loss of life; collapse of water and sanitation services; threat of disease, lack of medical supplies and fuel; and destruction of homes, schools and hospitals, UN staff are on the ground providing desperately needed support and assistance to vulnerable communities, often at great personal risk. 101 UN staff have been killed inside Gaza since October 7.




Flash Appeal to Respond to Humanitarian Needs




The humanitarian needs in the region are dire, urgent, and immense. The UN recently launched an updated flash appeal outlining the minimum funds needed to prevent further loss of life and scale up humanitarian operations amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza and escalating situation in the West Bank. The UN has stressed that, for humanitarian actors to implement the plan, they must have:

  • Safe and sustained access to all people in need across Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Enough fuel for their operations and those of critical services including hospitals, wastewater treatment, desalination plants, and water pumps.
  • A dramatic increase in the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Funds will be disbursed amongst UN and non-UN humanitarian partners and will support:

  • Procurement of trauma and emergency care drugs, laboratory supplies, medical kits, and equipment which are in critical shortage.
  • Expanded provision of food assistance, as the scale of displacement and level of destruction has overwhelmed existing resources, leaving many vulnerable families without access to basic necessities, including food, clean water and electricity.
  • Provision of sufficient quantities and quality of water for consumption, cooking, and hygiene, which will require both emergency repairs and the extension of services to isolated communities.
  • Winterization efforts, including distribution of warm clothing and temporary fixes to damaged properties to reduce the risk of exposure to winter weather. Many shelters and collective centers are already acutely beyond their maximum capacity with more displaced persons arriving daily.
  • And more services and supplies to meet urgent life-sustaining needs.

The Work of UN Agencies on the ground

UN Relief and Works Agency

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is a direct service provider offering food, education, and healthcare directly to Palestinians throughout the region, including through UNRWA-run centers in Gaza. Of the roughly 1.4 million people displaced inside Gaza, more than 689,000 have sought refuge in UNRWA shelters, most of which are at 2.5 times their capacity — at least. UNRWA is urgently seeking funding to enable humanitarian response — including immediate food, health, shelter, and protection needs — over an initial 90-day period.


The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) continues to focus on the critical needs of children, including protection and humanitarian assistance So far, thousands of children have reportedly been killed and even more injured. Limited shipments of life-saving supplies and drinking water from UNICEF began moving into Gaza on October 21. UNICEF has prepositioned additional emergency supplies at the Egypt-Gaza border crossing that can be brought into Gaza in a matter of hours if and when humanitarian access is possible, and is working with partners to pre-position additional supplies including medicines, blankets, and hygiene kits.

World Food Programme

The World Food Programme (WFP) is responding in Gaza with pre-positioned food for displaced people or those in shelters, where possible, while working to provide its regular food and cash-based transfer assistance to vulnerable people. WFP has indicated that to meet escalating needs, at least 40 WFP trucks would need to cross into Gaza daily to ensure a steady supply of food.

World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) is responding to the crisis by providing life-saving medical supplies, surgical equipment, and trauma kits while expanding emergency care inside Gaza. WHO has further called for all parties to take every precaution necessary to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, including health workers, patients, health facilities and ambulances, and civilians who are sheltering in these facilities.