Denisa Delić, IRC UK Advocacy Director, said:

Today’s report from the Independent Commision for Aid Impact (ICAI) brings into sharp relief the urgent need for increased diplomatic efforts, including by the UK Government, to address mounting humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.  

Whilst the International Rescue Committee UK (IRC UK) welcomes any delivery of aid into Gaza, we share the concerns laid out in ICAI’s report that sea routes and air drops are not a solution to the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe, and cannot deliver the volume of aid required to meet the enormous level of need. Barriers to the delivery of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza mean that aid is struggling to reach those who need it – particularly in areas of heavy fighting – leaving almost two million people unable to meet their basic needs and at imminent risk of famine. We urge the UK Government to use all diplomatic tools at its disposal to facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief at speed and scale, through all possible routes into and across Gaza. 

Furthermore, the UK government must immediately halt its transfer of weapons, parts and ammunition to Israel in order to avoid facilitating violations of international humanitarian law. ln January 2024, a near-fatal airstrike on an IRC and Medical Aid for Palestinian (MAP) residential compound was fired by the Israeli military from an F16 jet, manufactured in the US using parts supplied by the UK. This attack, as well as countless others, exemplifies the ICAI report’s assessment that “the UK and other major powers have been largely ineffective at securing safety for aid agencies trying to enter Gaza”, and highlights the challenges that humanitarian organisations and their staff are facing in their attempts to deliver lifesaving support. 

Finally, all diplomatic efforts must be channeled into securing an immediate and permanent ceasefire, which is vital to prevent further loss of Palestinian lives, allow the release of hostages, and enable lifesaving humanitarian assistance to be provided to people across Gaza.