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CARE Statement on the Grave Humanitarian Consequences of a Military Operation in Rafah

February 9, 2024 — A full-scale military operation in Rafah would have devastating consequences for civilians in Gaza who have endured more than four months of trauma, extreme hunger, lack of water, disease, and extremely limited medical resources due to the conflict and siege of the enclave.

To date, at least 27,840 people have reportedly been killed and 67,317 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. Moreover, the IPC reports that the entire population of Gaza – some 2.2 million people – is experiencing hunger at crisis levels or worse.

With approximatively two thirds of Gaza’s population currently sheltering in Rafah, an area roughly a quarter of the size of Baltimore, an expansion of hostilities in the overcrowded governorate will lead to a catastrophic deterioration of the already-dire humanitarian conditions there, and inevitably, even more civilian deaths. Of the 1.4 million people currently living in Rafah, one million have already been displaced by the conflict.

Such an escalation would also bring existing humanitarian operations to a standstill, impacting all of Gaza. The limited aid that is currently able to trickle into the enclave does so from Rafah, and most humanitarian organisations currently operate from there.

CARE reiterates its calls for an immediate ceasefire that enables full, safe, and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance, access to shelter, healthcare, food, water, and other basic necessities of life for Palestinians throughout Gaza; and the release of all hostages. The international community must act swiftly to avert a deepening humanitarian catastrophe.

For media inquiries, please contact: usa.media@care.org

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