Over 28 million people need humanitarian aid in the Middle East, warns Oxfam

Published 13 August 2014  |  
AP
A Palestinian walks through the rubble of the house of Issam Al Da'slees, top aide of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, after it was hit by an Israeli air strike in Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Gaza

Oxfam has warned that the Middle East "sits on a precipice", with nearly 30 million people in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

With ongoing crises in Iraq, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen, humanitarian director Jane Cocking has declared the situation the worst in decades.

"In my entire career, I've never seen so much need in the Middle East," she said in a statement today.

"The crisis across the region has escalated over the last five weeks with the outbreak of conflict in Gaza and increasing violence in Iraq. There are six year olds in Gaza living through their third war, pregnant women seeking shelter in the desert and people living in fear for their lives."

Cocking added that complex political structures and issues mean that delivering sufficient aid and working to full capacity is made difficult for humanitarian organisations on the ground.

"The role of humanitarian agencies is keeping people - and hope - alive. It is also about getting them back on their feet...There has never been a greater need for us to work with local partners and find long-term solutions to the problems," she said.

The latest statistics from the region reveal that almost one million Syrians have no access to clean water, while Gazans are living on less than one litre of clean water per day, which falls far below UN emergency standards.

The continued siege by Islamic State militants across Iraq has left 2.2 million civilians internally displaced, and an estimated 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian aid, according to the UN.

In addition, almost half of Yemen's 23 million population doesn't have enough food, and 13 million have no access to safe water – Cocking has branded it "a chronic and deepening crisis".

Oxfam is thus urging the international community to increase aid to these countries in particular.

The Disaster Emergencies Committee (DEC) launched a Gaza appeal last week. To donate, click here, call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque.

You can also donate £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.

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