Aid worker describes ‘horrendous’ scenes in Gaza after week in Egypt coordinating aid deliveries in Rafah – South London News

A member of the UK charity Muslim Aid described the “horrific” scenes in aerate after returning from a week in Egypt coordinating aid entering Rafah.

Sam Cook, global programs manager at Muslim Aid, who lives in Telegraph Hill, BrockleyRhe returned home on Saturday.

Talking to South London Press, the 32-year-old said: “In aerate right now, it’s terrible.

“Since October 7, one in 40 people have been killed as a result of the war.

“Every person faces food insecurity.

“Half of them are facing what we call catastrophic food insecurity, which means people are malnourished, people are starving, and that’s likely to lead to more deaths.”

Muslim Aid workers with children in Gaza (Image: Muslim Aid)

On May 6, while Mr. Cook was in Egypt, Israeli troops seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt — one of the main aid crossing points into Gaza — and ordered the evacuation of eastern Rafah, where there were about 1, 4 million people displaced. sheltering

Mr Cook said: “When the border closed we had trucks in Cairo ready to go. Nothing happened for five days.

“We set up a warehouse in Rafah that had supplies and was ready to receive the next drop in our aid load.

“Last week we managed to secure a new warehouse in another part of South Gaza, which has now been called a humanitarian zone – so we moved our supplies there.”

An estimated 150,000 Palestinians, many displaced multiple times, have fled Rafah, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said on Saturday.

Sam Cook discusses the difficulties of getting aid into Gaza (Image: Claudia Lee)

Mr Cook said: “I have heard stories of people paying upwards of $1000 just to use a vehicle to transport their family several miles down the road.

“No aid agency can support the fuel shortage in a meaningful way.”

Since October 7, Mr Cook said the charity has adapted several times to navigate around blockades, sieges and displacement.

He said: “A lot of our work is based on cooperation with partners – we have workers and groups in Palestine that we coordinate with to provide aid and find out what is most needed on the ground.”

The aid deliveries that Mr Cook has organized include food parcels, which are easy to cook and last a family for around a week, as well as hygiene kits.

Mr Cook said: “When you send aid to Gaza, Israel has a list of what is allowed.

Emergency aid flagged off by Muslim Aid in Gaza (Image: Muslim Aid)

“If you want a shelter or tents, you might have a problem, the authorities might find something that is seen as dual use – anything with metal.

“If one item in a truck is ineligible, the whole truck is turned over. Our job is to develop these lists to avoid that.”

Mr Cook has worked with Muslim Aid, providing emergency response and humanitarian work in “fragile countries” around the world. But, he said, what is happening in Gaza is unique.

He said: “The famine conditions we see in Gaza are completely avoidable if different political choices were made. It is preventable if you could have gotten more help.

A Muslim Aid ambulance in Gaza (Image: Muslim Aid)

“When we work in natural disasters, you have constraints like road closures, but they are being restored. In Gaza you have blockades and border closures.”

Mr Cook said his work with Muslim Aid was a small part of a much bigger picture.

He said: “We rely on the incredible work of our staff and partner organizations in Palestine who need assistance. They are there with incredible strength and resilience, and I am constantly in awe of my peers.”

Muslim Aid has been in Gaza since 2006. Since October 7, the charity has called for a ceasefire and the opening of humanitarian corridors.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said on Saturday that at least 34,971 people had been killed and 78,641 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

A Muslim Aid Ambulance in Gaza, Sam Cook Global Program Manager at Muslim Aid (Image: Muslim Aid, Claudia Lee)

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