This means pre-approved partners with a proven ability to operate in Gaza will now have access to a total of £3 million in new funding to provide rapid and direct emergency humanitarian assistance.
Under the RRF, applications are approved and funding agreed within just a few days, so NGOs can get on with delivering aid where it is most urgently needed to support people affected.
The priority will be clean water and sanitation following extreme water shortages. Funding priorities are also emergency healthcare, protection of civilians through unexploded ordinance clearance, as well as counselling and care for civilians exposed to the conflict, particularly women and children.
Justine Greening said:
“What is happening in Gaza is nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe. Families are being driven from their homes by the fighting and the number seeking shelter and safety keeps growing. The £10 million we have released over the last two weeks is already helping to save lives and the UK will continue to stand by those in desperate need.
“Humanitarian workers putting their own lives at risk must be able to get on with their lifesaving work. All sides to the fighting must give them safe, unimpeded access and we will keep pushing hard for a lasting and durable ceasefire.
“To help NGOs in their vital work, I have now activated the Rapid Response Facility. This means we can fast track funding and enable aid workers to get on with saving lives and helping traumatised women and children as quickly as possible.”
Gaza is the sixth most densely populated place on earth, but more than 40 per cent of it is now an active military zone and up to a quarter of its entire population has been displaced.
There is reduced or no access to water right across Gaza and people in shelters have barely enough to drink and no water to wash or cook with. Food is increasingly scarce and fears grow of epidemics taking hold in cramped shelters. The UN estimates that more than 300,000 children are traumatised and in need of urgent care and counselling.
As of today, 136 schools (some serving as shelters), 24 hospitals and clinics and 25 ambulances have been damaged or destroyed. Eight UNRWA aid workers and at least two Palestinian Red Crescent volunteers have now been reported as killed in the conflict.
International Humanitarian Law is clear that all feasible precautions must be taken to avoid harm to civilians during a military attack and all sides must allow rapid, unimpeded access for humanitarian aid.
This new funding brings to £13 million the total released by the UK in response to this latest crisis. The UK already spends around £30 million each year in Gaza and is also the third biggest donor to UNRWA’s General Fund, contributing £107 million between 2011 and 2015.
Notes to editors
The Rapid Response Facility (RRF) was established in March 2012. It is a network of pre-approved specialist aid organisations and private businesses who can rapidly deliver emergency medical, water and sanitation assistance to affected people.
Prior to the £3 million announced for the RRF today, the UK has already released a total of £10 million in funding to support Gaza since the start of this most recent crisis.
This includes £3 million to the World Food Programme to provide emergency food for more than 300,000 people for one month; £4 million to UNRWA’s flash appeal for basic shelter, blankets, hygiene kits, nappies and other vital help for tens of thousands of people forced out of their homes; and £3 million brought forward for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide emergency health care and clean water.