CAFOD calls on David Cameron to help ensure aid can reach people trapped in Gaza

Since the horrifying attacks by Hamas on 7th October 2023 and the intensive bombardment in retaliation from Israel, the humanitarian situation facing people in Gaza has become increasingly desperate.

On Monday 15th January, the war in Gaza reached its 100th day, and Catholic aid agency CAFOD and its generous supporters have been able to stand alongside people in need throughout this conflict.

A ceasefire is urgently needed

The seven-day temporary ceasefire brought urgently needed respite to people in Gaza and enabled the release of a number of hostages. It also allowed the entry of aid trucks carrying food, medical supplies, bottled water, blankets, tents and hygiene products, as well as fuel urgently needed to power hospitals, purify water and deliver vital aid. Yet the amounts fell far short of the needs of over 2.3 million people requiring urgent help.

Since fighting resumed, Gaza has witnessed some of the most intense bombardment yet, including in the south of Gaza where hundreds of thousands had sought safety. At the same time, the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel has continued.

Martin Griffiths, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, has described the situation as ‘apocalyptic’. The World Bank has said ‘the loss of life, speed and extent of damages … are unparallelled’.

CAFOD believes that only a permanent ceasefire will allow a full humanitarian response.

While some humanitarian aid is getting through, in many areas the intensity of the fighting has led to the suspension of aid delivery. Even where aid delivery has been possible, humanitarian workers as well as health facilities and their staff continue to come under attack. Twenty-two hospitals and 52 healthcare facilities are out of service and over 300 health workers have been killed.

The death toll continues to grow

Over 18,000 Palestinians have been killed – 70% of them women and children – and thousands are missing, presumably under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery. Over 50,000 are reportedly injured. The UN reports that over 60% of housing units in Gaza are destroyed or damaged.

An estimated 1.9 million people in Gaza (nearly 85 per cent of the population) have been internally displaced, many of them multiple times.

How can I respond to the conflict?

“CAFOD unequivocally condemns this shocking killing and kidnapping of civilians. But we know more violence is never the answer,” said a spokesperson.

“The scale of the Israeli government’s violent retaliation is causing more civilian deaths and injuries. The decision to withhold food, water and fuel from reaching the two million inhabitants of Gaza – half of whom are children – will inevitably lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.

“Will you email the Foreign Secretary to urge the UK to play its part in upholding international law, ensuring humanitarian aid can reach people in need, and works with other world leaders to secure a lasting peace for the region?”

The letter to the the Rt Hon. David Cameron, which already has more than 7,000 signatures, calls on the Foreign Secretary to work with international partners towards:

• The immediate resumption of access to food, water, medical and fuel supplies to the population of Gaza, and ensure humanitarian aid can reach those in need;
• The upholding of international law on both sides – meaning that civilians must not be targeted, hostages must be released and collective punishments of whole populations must never take place;
• The urgent cessation of the current violence and progress towards a lasting peace in the region.
If you would like to sign the letter, you can do this online on CAFOD’s website. Just follow this link: