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European Union supports expansion of logistics lifeline for people in Gaza

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DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti, November 10, 2023/ — The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes the support of the European Union in strengthening the logistics capacity of Egyptian Red Crescent-run aid hubs in the northeast of Egypt which are a critical part of relief efforts for people in Gaza.

This vital support will expand inter-agency storage and cargo consolidation operations at multiple locations in Egypt and facilitate transport of food and lifesaving assistance to the Palestinian people.

The WFP-led Logistics Cluster is collaborating closely with the Egyptian Red Crescent, which is responsible for receiving and storing international aid on behalf of the humanitarian community and facilitating its dispatch into Gaza.

Under the European Humanitarian Response Capacity, the European Commission has purchased and donated 29 prefabricated storage tents, four inflatable cold rooms, four freezers, and eight refrigerators. These commodities, together with materials for accommodation and working space for staff, are sourced by the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD), managed by WFP, from stocks available at the hubs in Dubai, UAE and Brindisi, Italy.

This equipment will increase the Egyptian Red Crescent’s covered storage space in Al Arish by 3,200 square meters, including temperature-controlled and cold rooms for heat-sensitive food, medicines, and health kits. Plans include setting up an additional 6,080 square meters storage tents in Ismailia and in other locations as needed in case of a potential scale up of operations.

“The EU has quadrupled its humanitarian assistance to Gaza to over EUR 100 million, but access remains absolutely key. We will continue working tirelessly with our humanitarian partners, including WFP, to bring much-needed humanitarian assistance including food, water, shelter, and medication into Gaza,” said Andreas Papaconstantinou, DG ECHO’s director responsible for humanitarian operations in the Neighbourhood and Middle East.

The EU is also organizing and covering the transport costs for this equipment through an initial two flights managed by UNHRD under the European Humanitarian Response Capacity. The first shipment was dispatched on 7 November from the Dubai hub, a second batch was sent out from the Brindisi hub on 10 November and additional flights are in the pipeline.

“At the onset of the conflict, UNHRD dispatched four prefabricated storage tents which WFP handed over to the Egyptian Red Crescent. As needs are growing ever more critical, the EU support is very timely as it expands our local partners’ capacity to provide a lifeline to the people of Gaza. Thanks to an additional EU contribution, we are also organizing the dispatch of other partners’ supplies to Al Arish. Through the year, the EU has confirmed its strategic partnership, relying on UNHRD to deploy their stocks from our hubs and to facilitate partners’ response to earthquakes in Türkiye – Syria, and more recently in Afghanistan, and to crises in Sudan, Chad and Armenia,” said Walid Ibrahim, UNHRD Network Coordinator.

“The unprecedented scale of the humanitarian needs in Gaza calls for rapid, joint, and coordinated efforts. With the support of the European Union, WFP Logistics coordination teams are working with the Egyptian Red Crescent to provide additional warehousing and transport capacity to the international community to receive and dispatch aid through the Rafah border crossing. This is already a crucial lifeline for the millions of people in Gaza facing catastrophic conditions without access to water, medicines, and food. We stand ready, together with all our partners, to increase the flow of aid into Gaza as soon as it is permitted,” said Maïlin Fauchon, Global Logistics Cluster Coordinator at WFP.

WFP leads the Logistics Cluster and manages UNHRD as part of its mandate to offer its six-decade expertise and capacity in supply chain to support emergency preparedness and response efforts, coordination and information management across the humanitarian community.

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