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ACFID calls for ceasefire, humanitarian access and funding, as Foreign Minister visits Middle East

Jan 16, 2024 | Media Releases

 

One hundred days into the violent conflict in Gaza, Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong is this week making a significant visit to the Middle East.  

 

Australia’s foreign aid and humanitarian sector is urging Minister Wong to use her visit to push for a permanent ceasefire and for immediate humanitarian access. It also calls for Australia to contribute funds proportional to the scale of the humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. 

 

The human toll of the conflict is staggering:  24,000 people have been killed in Gaza, and 1.9 million – or 85 percent of the population – are displaced. Tens of thousands are injured or maimed. 

 

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for the aid and humanitarian sector, has a number of member organisations operating in Palestine who say that much-needed humanitarian assistance is not entering Gaza at the necessary pace nor reaching those most in need. 

 

“This visit is an opportunity for Australia’s Foreign Minister to see up close and personal the scale and intensity of the impact of the war,” said ACFID’s acting CEO, Jessica Mackenzie.  

 

“Unimpeded humanitarian access should be a non-negotiable to minimise the impact of conflict on civilians, however in this case humanitarian organisations have not been able to provide what is needed,” she said.

 

The United Nations has reported that efforts to send humanitarian convoys to North Gaza have been met with delays and the imposition of impossible conditions, and that there is a paucity of armoured vehicles. (Source: UNOCHA) 

 

Currently, around 2.2 million people are in crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity, with one in four facing extreme hunger. (Source: WFP). 

 

“Australia might be far from the conflict zone, but our voice carries weight. We hope that Australia calls for an unequivocal ceasefire. Doing so would prevent further needless civilian deaths in Gaza,” said Ms Mackenzie. 

 

 

 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact [email protected] or call 0401721064. 

 

 

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