Working alongside its partners, WFP is providing cash support which will benefit both people who now need assistance for the first time and people who were already receiving WFP assistance but have had to leave their belongings behind and go and stay with friends or family elsewhere.
"For people who have lost or fled their homes, one of the most pressing needs at the moment is food. The quickest and most effective way we can provide support is with cash, in the form of e-vouchers. Food is available for the time being and many local shops are still open, including those we have already contracted for our regular e-voucher support," said WFP Representative and Country Director in Palestine Samer AbdelJaber in a press release on Monday.
However, the closure of crossings into Gaza may soon cause a dearth of commodities, including food, and push up food prices.
Prices of fresh produce are already on the rise as farmers are unable to reach their land.
WFP is currently working with partners to scale up coordination, establish protocols and determine emergency food assistance needs for people seeking safety in the United Nations shelters.
WFP’s cash-based voucher electronic platform is also being used by other humanitarian agencies to provide non-food and other basic assistance to affected people.
WFP is also providing technical assistance to assess humanitarian needs in Gaza and is supporting – through the WFP-led logistics efforts – the coordination of humanitarian cargo that may need to enter the area if borders remain closed.
"People in Gaza have already been living on the edge and many families struggle to put food on the table. Their situation has deteriorated even further over the past year due to covid-19 pandemic restrictions," WFP Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Corinne Fleischer said.
In Gaza, WFP regularly supports around 260,000 people through cash-based transfers or cash assistance for food, direct food rations, and livelihood support projects.
More than two-thirds of Gaza’s population of two million were already suffering from food insecurity before the current escalation of conflict.
Poverty and unemployment, the two key drivers of food insecurity in the region, were already high prior to the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic and the recent deterioration in security conditions.
More than half of Gaza’s population live in poverty – 53 percent – and unemployment is at 45 percent.