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11 INGOs call on the EU to act immediately to prevent famine in Gaza

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Today ActionAid and ten other INGOs are calling on the EU to act immediately to prevent famine in Gaza. In an open letter, they demand four urgent steps are taken, including advocating for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and ceasing the transfer of arms to Israel. 

The letter was coordinated by ActionAid and signed by ten organisations - Act Church of Sweden, Christian Aid Ireland, Diakonia Sweden, EuroChild, Handicap International - Humanity & Inclusion, Médecins du Monde International Network, Oxfam, Pax Christi International, Plan International, War Child Alliance. Please see the full letter below. 

Dear Commissioners,

We urge the European Union to take immediate action to address the urgent needs of the civilian population in Gaza and to advocate for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to end the war.

The relentless Israeli bombardments on Gaza and the daily hostilities have resulted in catastrophic consequences, including tens of thousands of civilian casualties - more than 13,000 of whom are children- mass forced displacement, and the destruction of homes and critical infrastructure. The situation has reached a critical juncture, with the chronic and structural denial of food and clean water taking its toll on the civilian population in Gaza leading to an imminent risk of famine. According to the latest analysis conducted by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), famine is projected to occur anytime between now and May 2024 in the northern governorates of Gaza and North Gaza, with the risk of famine extending across the rest of the Gaza Strip.

The impact of the war on civilians is devastating, with half of the Palestinian population in Gaza already facing catastrophic food insecurity, and the rest facing Emergency or Crisis levels of food insecurity. Acute malnutrition rates are alarmingly high, particularly among children, and access to essential services such as healthcare and clean water is severely limited. The 5,500 women about to give birth in Gaza need water, food and electricity to protect their baby’s lives, as well as their own.

Addressing famine requires more than just food; it necessitates ensuring that clean water and other basic needs are available in sufficient quantities and that there is a robust healthcare system capable of treating individuals suffering from malnutrition and diseases that their weakened bodies can no longer fight. Israel has destroyed civilian infrastructure related to water supplies and hospitals, killed aid and medical workers and prevented essential medical supplies and aid from reaching Gaza. Now is the time to act! We urge the EU to:

  1. Advocate for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to end the war in Gaza and protect civilians from further harm.
  2. Ensure that Israel complies with its obligations under International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and adheres to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) provisional measures to prevent Genocide and facilitate the unhindered access of humanitarian aid to Gaza through all available channels. While sea and air routes provide a complement, they cannot replace the efficiency of land routes, which are much faster and capable of delivering large-scale aid promptly and should only be used as last resort.
  3. Prioritise funding and support for UNRWA and other Palestinian and international humanitarian organisations working on the ground in Gaza to provide lifesaving assistance, including food, water, shelter, and medical care, to those in need. The rights, needs and health of women and girls must be prioritised.
  4. Stop the transfer of arms and suspend the association agreement with Israel to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights standards.

It is very important now that the European Union takes decisive action to address the catastrophic humanitarian crisis in Gaza and upholds its obligations under international law to protect civilians in times of conflict. Failure to act swiftly and decisively risks exacerbating the suffering of innocent civilians and perpetuating the cycle of violence and instability in the region.

We urge you to prioritise the protection of civilian lives and to work towards a sustainable solution that brings an end to the catastrophic suffering in Gaza. Our common humanity must prevail.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.


ActionAid International

Act Church of Sweden

Christian Aid Ireland

Diakonia Sweden


Handicap International - Humanity & Inclusion

Médecins du Monde International Network


Pax Christi International

Plan International

War Child Alliance

Contact the ActionAid press office on or on 07753 973 486. 

Spokespeople are available. Please contact the press office to arrange. 

About ActionAid    

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 41 million people living in more than 71 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.