First humanitarian aid flows into besieged Gaza as Rafah border crossing opens

21 October 2023, 18:30

The Rafah border crossing opened on Saturday for the first time since Hamas' attack on Israel.
The Rafah border crossing opened on Saturday for the first time since Hamas' attack on Israel. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

A vital crossing between Gaza and Egypt opened on Saturday allowing humanitarian aid into the besieged Palestinian territory.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Only 20 trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Palestine were allowed in on Saturday when the Rafah border opened.

This is despite the fact more than 200 trucks carrying around 3,000 tonnes of aid have been waiting on the Egyptian side of the vital border crossing for days, waiting for it to open.

The Rafah border crossing with Egypt was opened on Saturday morning to let crucial aid flow to Palestinians running short of food, medicine and water in the territory.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the opening of the Rafah crossing could not be a one-off event, as he said the aid was a “lifeline” for those in the territory.

"Trucks carrying lifesaving aid are beginning to cross at Rafah into Gaza. This aid is a lifeline for those suffering,” he said visiting Egypt on Saturday for the Cairo Peace Summit.

"But it cannot be a one-off.

"The UK continues to push for humanitarian access to Gaza."

The World Health Organisation said the aid would include trauma medicines and supplies for 1,200 people, as well as 235 portable trauma bags to stabilise injured people on-the-spot, while the United Nations convoy included around 44,000 bottles of drinking water - a day's supply for 22,000 people, according to UNICEF.

Read more: Israel is under 'no obligation' to supply Gaza, IDF spokesperson tells Sangita Myska

Read more: Israel reveals plans to sever links with Gaza as part of a 'three phase' war with airstrikes and ground manoeuvres

The border crossing opened on Saturday with key humanitarian aid.
The border crossing opened on Saturday with key humanitarian aid. Picture: Alamy

The Israeli military said the supplies would not include fuel and would only reach those in southern parts of Gaza, after civilians were told to flee the north.

Mr Cleverly previously told LBC ahead of the opening: "Of course, we are making every effort to protect British nationals, whether they be in Gaza or Israel, and to facilitate people attempting to leave.

"Although, with Gaza, that is proving incredibly difficult."

The Gaza Strip has been besieged and bombarded by Israel after Hamas launched a series of attacks on Israel on October 7.

The Rafah border is Gaza’s only crossing to the rest of the world that is not controlled by Israel - it opened today for the first time since Hamas’ attack earlier this month.

Trucks were waiting days on the Egyptian side of the border with aid.
Trucks were waiting days on the Egyptian side of the border with aid. Picture: Alamy

Aid workers have warned the number let into Gaza is insufficient, while Palestinian officials have expressed disappointment that fuel supplies were not included in the aid provided.

"Excluding the fuel from the humanitarian aid means the lives of patients and injured will remain at risk," the Gaza health ministry said.

Water and electricity were turned off in the besieged Palestinian territory, forcing its 2.3 million population to ration food and drink dirty water.

ActionAid Palestine spokesman Riham Jafari said: "Before this crisis began, around 500 aid trucks would normally cross the border every day providing a vital lifeline to millions of Gazans who were already facing a humanitarian crisis.

"Aid trucks also did not bring with them the fuel needed to power hospitals, keep ambulances moving, or to pump water from the ground."

It comes as some 100,000 people joined a pro-Palestine protest in London on Saturday.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

England fans have packed out pubs and bars across the country ahead of a clash with Slovenia in Euro 2024.

England fans pack out pubs and bars ahead of Euros clash with Slovenia

Breaking
Four men have been arrested at the Prime Minister's North Yorkshire home on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

Four men arrested at Rishi Sunak’s North Yorkshire home on suspicion of aggravated trespass

Sir Ed Davey says Putin apologists 'need to be exposed' as he takes aim at former coalition government

Ed Davey says Putin apologists 'need to be exposed' as he takes aim at former coalition government

Ed Davey has said that it 'genuinely' hasn't crossed his mind that he might be the future leader of the opposition.

Ed Davey tells LBC he doesn’t see himself as future leader of opposition as he says focus is on ‘beating Tory MPs’

Labour candidate Kevin Craig is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich

Labour candidate suspended for betting against himself says he did it for 'fun' as he issues apology

The teenager's account was 'accessed and active', a friend of Jay reportedly said.

Jay Slater’s Instagram account ‘mysteriously active’ amid ongoing search for missing teenager in Tenerife

Labour candidate Kevin Craig is running to become an MP in the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich

Labour candidate suspended for 'betting against himself' as Gambling Commission launches probe

Celine Dion's diagnosis was featured as part of Amazon Prime series I Am Celine Dion. Images Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios © Amazon Content Services LLC

Céline Dion shares harrowing footage of ten minute 'crisis' seizure following Stiff Person's Syndrome diagnosis

David Larkin was found while police searched for Jay Slater.

Pictured: British hiker, 51, who was 'rescued' during search for missing Jay Slater as he insists he 'didn't need help'

Exclusive
A busy hospital with staff busy at work in an accident and emergency ward in a British hospital

'Cut-price doctor' physician associates and anaesthesia associates acting illegally in one in eight NHS trusts

Sir Keir Starmer has made it his ‘moral mission’ to reduce knife crime

Keir Starmer pledges to ban zombie knives within six months of Labour government

Gavin Plumb is accused of plotting to murder Holly Willoughby

Security guard accused of Holly Willoughby murder plot said he would 'make TV star let him do what he pleased'

Craig Williams said he 'committed an error of judgement, not an offence'. He was dumped by Rishi Sunak along with Laura Saunders (inset)

Candidate at centre of the General Election betting scandal breaks silence after being dropped by Tories

Hungary's Barnabas Varga pictured for the first time after suffering horror head injury against Scotland

Hungary's Barnabas Varga pictured for the first time after suffering horror head injury against Scotland

Govia Thameslink Railway has put the bins in almost 500 men's toilets

Train firm puts sanitary bins in men’s lavatories to combat 'taboo' of incontinence

Princess Anne's husband Sir Tim Laurence has visited her in hospital after she was kicked in the head

Princess Anne's husband gives health update after she was kicked in the head by a horse and given concussion