Ayuda humanitaria

Palestinians gather on May 19 in the hope of obtaining aid delivered into Gaza through a U.S.-built pier. (Ramadan Abed/Reuters)

In Gaza City last November, I watched thousands of Palestinian civilians slowly march south from their shattered homes toward what Israel promised would be food and shelter in Rafah.

Now, with Rafah a military target, many of those Palestinians are again on the move fleeing conflict — their plight nearly as desperate as before. Israel, prodded by the United States, must fulfill its repeated promises to provide adequate humanitarian assistance — so that the next phase of the war in Gaza doesn’t become an even deeper tragedy.

Helping civilians ought to be the easy part of this terrible conflict. But more than seven months into the fighting, supplies of food, medicine and other essentials are still woefully inadequate.…  Seguir leyendo »

Funeral of Polish aid worker Damian Sobol killed in Israeli airstrike in Gaza, in Przemysl Poland, April 20, 2024 / Photo: Reuters

Shaken by a Hamas-led blitz on Israeli communities last October, Israel says it is “determined to dismantle” the military and governance capabilities of the group in besieged Palestinian enclave, Gaza. Yet, this quest has been overshadowed by the war’s devastating effects, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed as “collateral damage”.

Israel’s military campaign has killed over 34,000 people and uprooted 2 million from their homes, out of a population of 2.2 million. The enclave’s northern half is facing the world’s worst famine, relative to population size, of the past few decades.

This is due not only to a shortage of aid, but also to the dangers of and restrictions on movement within Gaza.…  Seguir leyendo »

Our decision to resume feeding in Gaza is both the hardest and the simplest one we could make.

Hardest because barely a month has passed since Israeli forces killed seven of our World Central Kitchen family, despite knowing their location, movements and the nature of their essential work. Our colleagues risked everything to feed people they did not know.

Yet it’s a simple decision for us because the need is so great. We cannot stand by while so many people are so desperate for the essentials of life. Food is a universal human right, and we will not cease until those basic human rights are respected.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dejen que la gente coma

En las peores condiciones imaginables —tras huracanes, terremotos, bombas y disparos— aparece lo mejor de la humanidad. No una vez, ni dos, sino siempre.

Las siete personas asesinadas en una misión de World Central Kitchen en Gaza el lunes eran lo mejor de la humanidad. No son anónimos: tienen rostro y nombre. No son trabajadores humanitarios genéricos ni daño colateral de la guerra.

Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, John Chapman, Jacob Flickinger, Zomi Frankcom, James Henderson, James Kirby y Damian Sobol arriesgaron todo en favor de la actividad más fundamentalmente humana: compartir nuestro alimento con los demás.

Junto a ellos serví en Ucrania, Turquía, Marruecos, las Bahamas, Indonesia, México, Gaza e Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Food rations to be delivered to Kamal Adwan Hospital in Gaza. (Eshak Daour)

Two months ago, my family opened the first soup kitchen in Beit Lahia, my hometown in northern Gaza. We served a simple vegetable stew — a spin on traditional Gazan recipes like fogaiyya and sumagiyya — made with whatever vegetables we could get our hands on. On our first day, we fed 120 families. A local photographer snapped photos, and we even made the local news.

By now, the daily routine is dignifying and familiar. Our mother wakes at the crack of dawn to peel and prepare produce, my father sources spices, and I work as operations manager. By 7 a.m.,…  Seguir leyendo »

Let People Eat

In the worst conditions you can imagine — after hurricanes, earthquakes, bombs and gunfire — the best of humanity shows up. Not once or twice but always.

The seven people killed on a World Central Kitchen mission in Gaza on Monday were the best of humanity. They are not faceless or nameless. They are not generic aid workers or collateral damage in war.

Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, John Chapman, Jacob Flickinger, Zomi Frankcom, James Henderson, James Kirby and Damian Sobol risked everything for the most fundamentally human activity: to share our food with others.

These are people I served alongside in Ukraine, Turkey, Morocco, the Bahamas, Indonesia, Mexico, Gaza and Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Aid from the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip, March 2024. Mohammed Salem / Reuters

There has hardly been a war, crisis, or peace process involving Israel and an adversary that has not involved a UN response of some kind. Despite the UN’s many shortcomings, the assumption that any situation would be far worse without its involvement has generally been an accepted principle. The war that began with Hamas’s brutal attack on October 7 has challenged this assumption like never before, particularly for Israel. Despite years of working with the main UN agency that provides aid and services to Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, Israel is now seeking to dismantle it.

In January, Israeli officials alleged that as many as 12 of UNRWA’s staff members in Gaza participated in the October 7 attack.…  Seguir leyendo »

Palestinian children waiting for food in Rafah, Gaza Strip, February 2024. Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

According to assessments by the Famine Review Committee, the gold-standard international body that analyzes famine risk, the Gaza Strip now stands on the brink of famine. On February 27, senior UN officials warned the UN Security Council that famine is now imminent in Gaza. If famine takes hold, the number of Gazans who die of hunger or disease could outstrip the Israel-Hamas war’s already breathtaking number of civilian deaths. It is still possible to prevent a famine. But the window for action is rapidly narrowing. Unless the fighting stops and Israel halts the siege tactics that are preventing a large-scale relief operation, aid agencies will be unable to avert a full-blown famine and the death toll that comes with it.…  Seguir leyendo »

Refugees fleeing the conflict in Sudan queue with their jerrycans to queue to collect drinking water from the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) distribution point at the Ourang refugee camp in Adre on Dec. 7, 2023. Denis Sassou Gueipeur / AFP

With more than 12,000 killed and 7.3 million people displaced, ongoing warfare in Sudan has steadily broken down the country’s political, social, and medical services. Reports suggest more than 24 million of the country’s 46 million people need assistance; cholera cases had risen to over 8,200 by late December; and between 70 percent and 80 percent of hospitals in affected states have been left nonfunctional.

As violence and displacement counts rise, humanitarian aid efforts haven’t kept up. Instead, initiatives to negotiate between the warring powers—the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), led by Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti” Dagalo—have been the priority for the international community, neglecting the suffering that ordinary Sudanese citizens have endured for the last nine months.…  Seguir leyendo »

The funeral of Ukrainian soldier Vadym ‘Gagarin’ Belov in Polonne, Ukraine, on 13 September 2023. Photograph: Alex Babenko/AP

Recently, Michael Kofman, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and one of the foremost analysts of the war in Ukraine, urged that the west “plan for the long war”. He was talking about the military challenges facing the country: ammunition, air defence, key enablers and scaling up training.

Kofman is right – the massive scale of the operation ahead cannot be overestimated. A recent trip I made to Kyiv confirms the extraordinary bravery, resilience and commitment of the Ukrainian population. But it also laid bare the civilian cost of the war, visible and invisible. With no end to the war in sight, civilian and humanitarian needs must be planned for, not just military ones.…  Seguir leyendo »

Des secouristes transportent une femme blessée par une réplique, dans la ville d'Imi N'tala, à l'extérieur de Marrakech, au Maroc, mercredi 13 septembre 2023. — © MOSA'AB ELSHAMY / AP

Pendant que la France se vexe, prenant mal le silence du Maroc face à sa proposition d’aide après le terrible tremblement de terre qu’ont vécu Marrakech et sa région, d’autres pays comme l’Espagne, les Emirats arabes unis ou le Qatar ont déjà pu accéder aux zones sinistrées pour tenter de venir en aide aux personnes en détresse. Une fois encore, un pays comme le Qatar, qui déjà mène depuis des années une stratégie offensive de médiateur de crises, assoit son rôle d’acteur humanitaire de premier plan sur plusieurs continents. Le contexte est celui d’un multilatéralisme en déroute depuis plusieurs années, de l’affaiblissement des grandes puissances, et du retour en puissance des acteurs régionaux, sans compter les microconfettis étatiques qui se rêvent en acteurs géopolitiques incontournables de l’échiquier mondial.…  Seguir leyendo »

A delivery of humanitarian aid in opposition-held Idlib, Syria, June 2021. Khalil Ashawi / Reuters

For close to a decade, at least four million people living in the parts of northwest Syria controlled by rebel groups have depended on the United Nations for food, medicine, and basic services. Back in 2014, as the country’s civil war raged, the UN and other aid agencies received Security Council approval to deliver essential supplies across the Syrian-Turkish border without the permission of the Syrian regime. But all that changed on July 10 of this year, when Russia—a close ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad—vetoed the extension of this humanitarian lifeline. As a result, millions of lives were thrown into jeopardy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los banqueros centrales y los ministros de finanzas de todo el mundo se dieron cita este abril en Washington D. C. en las Reuniones de Primavera del FMI y el Banco Mundial. Su objetivo no era fácil: lidiar con la crisis de la deuda, diseñar cómo continuar financiando la agenda global de desarrollo al tiempo que atienden crisis mayores —como reconstruir Ucrania—, transitar hacia energías limpias y prepararse ante futuras pandemias. Conjugar estos intereses es complicado en circunstancias normales, pero la situación económica mundial lo hace aún más desafiante. Con el aumento de los tipos de interés y la disminución de los ingresos fiscales, el capital privado no fluye hacia los mercados emergentes del mundo, mientras que los presupuestos para la ayuda al desarrollo de muchos Gobiernos siguen menguando.…  Seguir leyendo »

Personas desplazadas por la sequía esperan para recibir agua en un campo de refugiados en Baidoa, Somalia, el pasado febrero.YASUYOSHI CHIBA (AFP via Getty Images)

Mientras los miembros de la Alianza Atlántica se reunían en Madrid, y continúan los ataques sobre Kiev, el contador que más rápido crece es de las víctimas que se suman en África y otras partes del planeta. Son las otras víctimas de conflictos como la guerra de Ucrania, las más numerosas, las más invisibles: 49 millones de personas, algo más que el equivalente a la población total de España, pueden morir por una hambruna inminente. Hasta 14 millones de ellas son niños y niñas.

En el Sahel occidental —sobre todo en Nigeria, Níger, Burkina Faso, Chad y Malí— el número de personas que necesitan ayuda alimentaria de emergencia se ha quintuplicado entre 2015 y 2022, de 7 a 38 millones.…  Seguir leyendo »

A worker unloading humanitarian aid in rebel-held Idlib, Syria, June 2021. Khalil Ashawi / Reuters

Today, the UN Security Council renewed a resolution that allows humanitarian aid to be delivered to millions of Syrians without the permission of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In the weeks leading up to the vote, diplomats, aid workers, and millions of Syrians worried that Russia would use its veto in the Security Council to block the cross-border aid. They had good reason to be concerned. Moscow, one of Assad’s closest backers, has long argued that the humanitarian mission violates Syria’s sovereignty, and it has previously vetoed the use of other crossing points for aid delivery into Syria. This time, the crisis is averted, at least for the next six months.…  Seguir leyendo »

The UN Security Council has adopted a cross-cutting exception for humanitarian action in UN sanctions. What does it cover? What must happen next?

The UN Security Council has removed an obstacle to humanitarian work. On 9 December 2022, it adopted a resolution establishing a cross-cutting exception to existing – and future – UN financial sanctions for funds or assets necessary for humanitarian assistance and activities to meet basic human needs. In a coup for multilateralism, the council has been able to act, even when the Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused paralysis in other areas.

Resolution 2664 – introduced by Ireland and the US, co-sponsored by 53 states, and adopted by 14 votes in favour, with India abstaining – is the culmination of a decade of engagement between humanitarian organizations and states to find ways of avoiding the adverse impact of sanctions on the most vulnerable: people relying on humanitarian action for survival.…  Seguir leyendo »

Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders staff help evacuate pensioners from villages near the front lines of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, on July 18. Anatolii Stepanov/AFP via Getty Images

In April, I was volunteering with World Central Kitchen along Poland’s border with Ukraine. A barbeque chef from North Carolina stood next to me in the warehouse as we unpacked bread for sandwiches. “I heard the International Red Cross is kidnapping Ukrainians and taking them into Russia”, he said confidently.

The chef said that earlier, at a nearby cafe, a man went from table to table telling diners the humanitarian organization was forcibly deporting Ukrainians to Russia. Social media users shared and posted tweets about the purported kidnappings, with mentions of the Red Cross peaking over a three-day period at the end of March.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Organización de las Naciones Unidas recientemente estimó que la cantidad de menores afectados por la crisis y que necesitan apoyo educativo urgente ha aumentado desde 75 millones en 2016 a 222 millones en la actualidad. Son 222 millones de sueños truncados y 222 millones de ataques a nuestra humanidad colectiva.

Esta crisis creciente tendrá prolongados efectos en nuestras economías y sociedades. Pero solo entre un 2 y un 4% de la financiación humanitaria global se destina a educación. A medida que los líderes mundiales deciden la asignación de recursos en respuesta a la pandemia de COVID-19, el cambio climático y los conflictos, deben hacer del gasto en educación una prioridad mucho mayor.…  Seguir leyendo »

Volunteers complete first aid kits at a humanitarian relief centre in Lviv, Ukraine. Photo by YURIY DYACHYSHYN/AFP via Getty Images.

Sanctions play a major role in the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The United Nations (UN) has not imposed sanctions, but an important number of states have done so. They have imposed a wide array of restrictions and the number of targeted – or ‘designated’ – persons is unprecedented.

The public has been captivated by the freezing of oligarchs’ assets. There is ongoing discussion about seizing them to provide compensation for war damage. Debate continues about how far to ban oil and gas imports.

One aspect of the sanctions has received far less attention, even though it can exacerbate the effect of the conflict of civilians.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Joe Biden said in August that the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan would not signal the end of US support to the Afghan people, pledging active humanitarian support and diplomatic engagement. But the policies of the US and other Western powers have done the opposite, instead delivering isolation, economic mayhem and human misery.

Following the Taliban takeover in August, Western states froze all development aid, worth 75% of the Afghan government's budget. Many civil servants, including doctors and teachers, have not been paid since August. Western powers froze $9.5 billion in Afghan assets in foreign banks -- the vast majority of which is held in the US.…  Seguir leyendo »