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FLASH ALERT: ESCALATING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN GAZA; IMMEDIATE AND LONG-TERM HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTIONS NEEDED AS MILITARY OPERATIONS CONTINUE

Ludovica Leccese, Giorgia Cito, Kyle Dillon, CENTCOM/AFRICOM 

Jess Wilson, Elena Alice Rossetti, Editor; Evan Beachler, Senior Editor

June 24, 2024


Humanitarian Aid in Gaza Strip, Palestine[1]


The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) is issuing a FLASH ALERT to the humanitarian aid operators regarding the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.[2] While an influx of aid has temporarily alleviated the hunger crisis in northern Gaza, the entire territory remains at high risk of famine because of Israeli military actions in Rafah. The military operations led to mass displacement and significant regional aid operations disruptions. Current information indicates that nearly everyone in Gaza is struggling to secure enough food, with more than 495,000 people facing extreme starvation in the coming months. Despite increased international aid efforts, logistical challenges, security concerns, and damaged infrastructure severely limit relief operations’ effectiveness. The escalating humanitarian crisis threatens the lives and well-being of millions, especially vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly. If immediate and sustained intervention does not occur, the situation will very likely deteriorate into a full-scale famine, with severe consequences for the civilian population.


CTG is on HIGH alert for the hunger crisis spreading in the Gaza Strip and the risk of famine stemming from the increase in the number of internally displaced persons and the disruption of humanitarian aid operations caused by the ongoing conflict. Israeli military operations in Rafah are hindering access to essential needs, such as food, clean water, and medical supplies, with more than 495,000 Palestinians facing extreme starvation in the following months.[3] The continued internal instability and infrastructure disruption will almost certainly exacerbate the risk of famine, particularly among the children and the elderly. Increased famine will almost certainly lead to further loss of life and a breakdown of civil society in Gaza.


Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue to experience a severe hunger crisis, exacerbated by the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Since the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023, the Israel-Hamas conflict has led to widespread displacement and disruption of infrastructure, impeding access to necessities such as clean water, food, and medical assistance for the population. The international authority warns that the whole Gaza territory is at high risk of famine, with over 495,000 civilians at risk of starvation in the following months.[4] This situation follows an influx of aid in northern Gaza that temporarily eased hunger. However, the population is still facing a high risk of famine as the Israeli military operations continue in Rafah.[5]


Humanitarian aid agencies face significant challenges in managing the humanitarian crisis and delivering food and medical supplies since Israeli authorities continue the military operations and impose restrictions on movement imposed by the Israeli government. Israel affirms to have let trucks carrying aid to Gaza on a daily basis while fighting and coordination difficulties hindered effective distribution. The international community urges a lasting ceasefire to facilitate unimpeded humanitarian assistance, yet the situation remains volatile.[6]


Despite international efforts, logistical challenges, including damaged infrastructure and restricted movement, will likely hamper aid delivery. With ongoing military operations and sporadic violence, the security situation will likely complicate coordination among aid agencies, making it difficult to reach those in need. Active conflict zones endanger aid workers, very likely leading to interruptions in aid delivery schedules. The threat of attacks on aid convoys and personnel undermines the predictability of planned aid efforts, likely challenging consistent and effective humanitarian operations. Calls for a ceasefire and establishing humanitarian corridors are almost certainly crucial but are still pending completion. The effectiveness of aid efforts will likely hinge on the establishment of secure and reliable access routes, without which the humanitarian crisis will very likely escalate. The international community's response will likely face obstacles in coordination and effective implementation. Differing priorities and strategies among international aid agencies will likely result in inefficiencies and delays.


The displacement of over a million people within Gaza has resulted in overcrowded living conditions that ease the outbreak of diseases and create severe challenges for delivering humanitarian aid.[7] The very likely continuation of displacement, driven by ongoing hostilities and lack of safe housing, will very likely lead to a long-term crisis scenario where basic human needs are unmet. This crisis will very likely lead to an escalation of the humanitarian crisis, very likely resulting in severe health crises and mortality. The lack of effective sanitation and the close quarters in which people are living increase the risk of epidemic diseases, which will likely strain the limited healthcare resources and lead to greater loss of life.


The conflict has caused extensive damage to Gaza’s critical infrastructure, including roads, bridges, and public utilities, crippling the local economy and its ability to sustain its population. This destruction makes the internal distribution of aid highly problematic and inefficient. This damage will very likely have a long-lasting impact on Gaza’s economic recovery. Without a comprehensive and coordinated reconstruction effort, the local economy will very likely struggle to rebound, leading to increased poverty, unemployment, and the continued reliance on external humanitarian aid. The lack of a unified approach to managing the crisis means that aid will unlikely reach those most in need promptly.


  • CTG recommends that Israeli and Palestinian authorities establish and enforce humanitarian corridors to ensure safe and unhindered access for aid convoys.

  • CTG strongly recommends that Israeli and Palestinian authorities coordinate to temporarily halt hostilities during aid deliveries.

  • CTG recommends that international organizations leverage local NGOs and community groups to assist in the distribution of supplies.

  • CTG recommends that medical NGOs launch emergency vaccination campaigns to prevent outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, measles, and polio.

  • CTG recommends that the international community help set up secure zones where aid workers can operate without the threat of violence.


CTG assesses that the current threat climate is HIGH as the ongoing conflict has led to significant displacement, destruction of infrastructure, and severe disruptions in aid delivery. The likelihood of widespread famine, which poses a high risk to the population's health and stability, adds to these threats. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the entire population of Gaza will likely face severe health crises, increased mortality rates, and further displacement, likely resulting in a complete collapse of social and civil order. Prolonged instability in Gaza will likely exacerbate global security threats, likely destabilizing neighboring regions as refugees flee and likely increasing the burden on constrained resources in countries like Egypt and Jordan.


Analysis indicates a HIGH PROBABILITY of a full-scale famine developing in Gaza within the coming months. Despite increased aid to the northern region, widespread hunger and starvation will VERY LIKELY become imminent across the entire territory due to ongoing conflict, displacement, and disruptions in aid operations. If the current conditions persist, over 495,000 people will ALMOST CERTAINLY face extreme starvation, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. This situation WILL VERY LIKELY lead to significant loss of life, increased instability, and strain on regional resources.


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[1] Humanitarian aid in Gaza Strip, Palestine, generated by a third party image database (created by AI)

[2] Experts say Gaza is at ‘high risk’ of famine despite increased aid to the north, AP News, June 2024, https://apnews.com/article/israel-hamas-war-palestinians-hunger-famine-42e404ec4ef3e2836a82a8d2b2315fd1

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] ‘We have nothing.’ As Israel attacks Rafah, Palestinians are living in tents and searching for food, AP, May 2024, https://apnews.com/article/israel-palestinians-gaza-war-hamas-muwasi-humanitarian-2de77ea9095d2c680f57f77ad395917c 

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