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Palestine Emergency Appeal

7 October 2023 Palestine Responding

Simmering tensions in the Middle East have tipped into an unprecedented escalation. The already dire humanitarian situation in Gaza is worsening, as already struggling civilians once more face the horror of major airstrikes.

At least 17,487 Palestinians have been killed and more than 46,480 injured amid the recent violence70% of the victims are women and children.

In the Westbank, at least 226 have been killed and at least 2,750 injured.

In the Gaza Strip, the strikes are thought to have destroyed tens of thousands of homes, and 4 in 5 people have had to flee their homes. As many are forced to seek shelter in dozens of schools and hospitals, they urgently need food and other basic survival items.

There are also serious health concerns due to poor sanitation and overcrowding. Outbreaks of Hepatitis A have been reported, which is highly contagious and is just one of the growing risks of diseases that civilians in Gaza are exposed to.

As conditions rapidly deteriorate amid this latest escalation in hostilities, Islamic Relief remains steadfast in our determination to assist Palestinian families. Working closely with our local partners, we are distributing essential items to affected families. Find out more about our response here.

Ongoing struggles for Palestinian families

Even before the recent conflict, life in Gaza was extremely difficult. Economic development has been stifled by political instability, constant conflict, the erection of the West Bank barrier and the continuation of blockades in Gaza.

Amongst a population of around 4.7 million people, hundreds of thousands of families struggled with economic hardship. Within the Gaza Strip, in particular, a shocking 70% of people under the age of 30 are unemployed.

Water and electricity shortages across Gaza put livelihoods, as well as the health of local communities, at risk- even before the recent conflict. A lack of safe water can be especially deadly for children. In Gaza, due to power shortages, inadequate sewage systems and high levels of salt in the water, over 90% of the water is unfit for human consumption, posing a huge health risk.

Young boy with a balloon
Image: A young boy receives a balloon as part of his Eid gift provided by Islamic Relief

Write to your MP and call on the UK to protect civilians in Gaza

As the world witnesses the appalling violence against civilians, we are calling on each and every one of you to contact your local MP to urge the UK government to call for an immediate ceasefire and demand that international law is upheld and civilians are protected.

The situation in Palestine

The protracted crisis has meant that life is incredibly challenging for people across the Palestinian Territories.


the population across the Palestinian Territories are in need of humanitarian aid (UNICEF, 2021)


of people in the Palestinian Territories are unemployed (WFP, 2019)


of people in the Gaza Strip do not have a regular source of food (WFP, 2021)

2.2 million

registered refugees live in Gaza and the West Bank (UNRWA, 2021)


of the population of the Gaza Strip alone relying on humanitarian aid to survive

2.2 million

people across Palestine are in need of humanitarian aid

Islamic Relief in the Palestinian Territories

Since 1997 Islamic Relief has invested almost £109 million in humanitarian and development programmes to support Palestinian people.

Our projects include food distribution, medical relief, orphan sponsorship and Qurbani, in addition to establishing education centres, care programmes for traumatised children and a school for deaf people.

After an escalation of conflict in 2014, Islamic Relief launched an emergency appeal to restore basic healthcare, education, water and sanitation systems and also to provide local families with access to education and livelihoods support in order to ensure that families could rebuild their lives over the long-term.

We continue to offer a range of critical support across the region, including providing treatment for safer, cleaner water. We also deliver food to those in need and provide healthcare assistance to those in need, including the repair of a local clinic for children with disabilities.

For communities whose homes have been left damaged by the war, we’ve also provided furniture, children’s educational materials and clothing, along with recreational activities and psychosocial support.

With the Covid-19 pandemic now placing additional pressure on communities, we’re providing essential support to families in need by providing:

  • Financial support: We’re giving daily workers and those who no longer have an income cash vouchers to purchase essential food and hygiene items
  • Food: We’re distributing emergency food packs and providing hot meals to people in quarantine centres across Gaza
  • Medical care: We’re providing medical support, hygiene kits, and Covid-19 awareness materials to quarantine centres, hospitals and medical centres
  • Public safety: We’re helping to disinfect public places such as hospitals and schools to help reduce the risk of infection

Find out more about our work across the Palestinian Territories. Download a copy of our latest report.

Islamic Relief staff member giving blankets to young children
Image: An Islamic Relief aid worker distributes blankets to young children.

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