Global Emergency Update January 2024

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Global Emergency Update Emergency Response in the Holy Land

church destruction

Destruction outside church grounds in Gaza.

Photo courtesy of Caritas Jerusalem

CONTEXT

A humanitarian crisis across the Holy Land continues to escalate since the October 7 attack on Israel and subsequent air strikes that have since devastated Gaza. Since the start of the conflict, 25,490 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis have been killed—70% of whom are women and children. The people of Gaza continue to experience deprivation and deadly violence, with no way to protect themselves or provide for their families. As access to food, shelter and water has deteriorated, hunger has become of heightened concern. According to recent estimates, 25% of the population in Gaza is at imminent risk of famine if the situation does not dramatically improve in the next three months.

An estimated 1.7 million people—75% of the population in Gaza—are displaced, with many living on the street without protection from the elements. These conditions are especially dangerous for children and pregnant women, people living with disabilities, and those suffering from illness or recovering from injury. Infections and waterborne illnesses are spreading rapidly, especially among children under age 5. Current humanitarian aid efforts are unable to meet the scale of need.

Conflict has expanded into the West Bank and, more recently, to Lebanon, where 82,012 people have been displaced. Beyond people’s physical needs is the emotional toll across the region—immense suffering, despair, grief and trauma. Catholic Relief Services staff members in Gaza are working every day to assist the most vulnerable.

CRS has been serving families in the Holy Land since 1961.
trucks bringing supplies from Egypt

CRS and our partners have sent more than 30 trucks of supplies from Egypt, and plan to send much more aid as access into Gaza allows.

Photo by Sayed Hassan for CRS

CRS AND PARTNER RESPONSE

CRS is working closely with partners in Gaza and across the region to meet urgent needs. CRS and our local partners are coordinating with the United Nations, civil society organizations and humanitarian responders to provide the following:

Cash Assistance

CRS has provided cash assistance to 21,197 families—127,182 people—since the conflict began.

Food

CRS is working with the World Food Program to deliver lifesaving meals, distributing food parcels to 22,129 families. CRS has also procured ready-to-eat food rations for 2,500 families.

Support for Church Partners

CRS is supporting four churches in Gaza, where 850 people are temporarily sheltered. These sites are receiving cash assistance, food and other items.

Shelter and Hygiene Supplies

CRS and our partners have distributed bedding supplies to 17,976 people, tarps to 4,227 families and tents for 430 families.

Logistics and Operations

CRS established an office in Rafah with an adjacent warehouse. Our vendor distribution network has expanded across two governates. From our logistics hub in Cairo and with our Egypt team, CRS has procured bedding, hygiene and food supplies. We are transporting shipments across the Rafah border as access allows.

Counseling Support

CRS and our partners are prioritizing psychological first aid, caregiver resources and referrals for specialized trauma, grief and other counseling and support.

In Lebanon

Caritas Lebanon, with support from CRS and other Caritas agencies, is responding in the South, Beirut and Mount Lebanon, focusing on protection services, health, and the provision of food and supplies. To date, Caritas Lebanon has distributed cash assistance to 470 displaced families, in addition to delivering 2,985 food kits and 246 hygiene kits.

OUR COMMITMENT

Inspired by our colleagues and Church partners across the Holy Land, CRS remains committed to our spiritual and humanitarian mission, rooted in our values to help those in greatest need in times of war and peace alike.

We pray for our heroic staff in Gaza, many of whom are displaced, mourn the loss of loved ones and fear for their lives. We are indebted to their humanity at a time when their worlds are falling apart. They are supporting the most vulnerable within their community even as they and their families face immense hardships.

At CRS, we believe that all human life is sacred, and we extend our support and solidarity for the safe, dignified lives of our sisters and brothers throughout the Holy Land. We continue to work toward a shared future where people can flourish and live in just and peaceful societies.

family in Gaza

Rami, pictured with his wife Maryan, and their daughter Kylie, is a CRS staff member based in Gaza.

Read their story here.

Photo by CRS staff


Recent Global Emergency Updates

January 2024

Emergency Response in the Holy LandCatholic Relief Services and our partners are responding to immediate needs of families facing hunger and displacement in the Holy Land.

December 2023

Ongoing Emergencies and Priorities for 2024As Catholic Relief Services prepares to welcome a new year, we anticipate the most urgent humanitarian needs and opportunities for global impact in 2024. Our work is possible thanks to the generous support of private and public donors, the dedication of our local partners, and the unwavering presence of Caritas Internationalis and the Catholic Church. 

October 2023

CRS Responds to Crises Around The World – This is the latest report on Catholic Relief Services’ ongoing emergency response and recovery activities around the world. Our work is possible thanks to the generous support of private and public donors, the dedication of local partners, and the unwavering presence of Caritas and the local Catholic Church. This month, there is a particular focus on the Holy Land. This region has been affected by protracted conflict, violence, and instability, resulting in widespread suffering and displacement. CRS, in collaboration with local partners, is supporting efforts to provide lifesaving aid and long-term assistance to the most vulnerable communities there.

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