Gaza’s non-flow

Today Jordan will host an intergovernmental consultation on “urgent humanitarian response for Gaza“.  According to Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Dead Sea conference will “identify ways to strengthen the international community’s response to the humanitarian catastrophe, outline effective standardized measures and procedures, identify the operational and logistical needs and the types of support necessary in that regard, discuss preparations for early recovery, and seek commitments for a collective, coordinated response to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza…  to reach a consensus on practical measures to meet the immediate needs on the ground.”

The needs are profound.  On June 4 Reuters reported:

The Rafah crossing from Egypt has been shut for weeks, with a long line of trucks building up and some food rotting in the sun. A mere trickle of aid supplies are entering via the other southern crossing of Kerem Shalom and the World Food Programme has noted a deterioration in hunger in the centre and south… Data from the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency showed that 10.4% of 17,757 children screened between January-May were found to have some form of malnutrition, with 1.7% suffering from severe acute malnutrition. Some bakeries have had to close due to hostilities and lack of cooking gas, with only 11 out of 17 previously operating now functional.

According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

Fuel shortages continue to severely disrupt people’s access to water and the operation of vital sanitation facilities in the Gaza Strip, compounding the impact of prolonged electricity cuts and damage to infrastructure. According to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster, between 26 May and 2 June, only 20 percent of fuel needed per week to ensure the operation of vital water and wastewater facilities was received (94,000 out of 490,000 litres required). Fuel deliveries were also suspended between 31 May and 6 June due to safety concerns and the shifting of logistical support services from Rafah to Khan Younis amid intensified military operations…. In addition, the lack of sufficient fuel limits water distribution through the functional networks, which, coupled with the lack of generators and spare parts, continues to impact the availability of potable water. As of 2 June, daily water production in the Gaza Strip stood at around 95,000 cubic metres per day, representing only 26 per cent of water produced prior to October 2023.

There is continuing contention regarding how many trucks are discharged into Gaza and how many trucks are received into Gaza.  On June 10 a total of 167 trucks were reported as being discharged into Gaza while zero were reported as being received.   In either case, far fewer than the well-established 500 truck per day minimum to meet essential population needs.  April truck volumes were barely one-third this daily minimum, but the best month since the war started.  May volumes were barely one-third April’s volumes. 

Saturday the floating pier restarted operations (more and more). But yesterday Axios reported, “The UN World Food Program (WFP) has temporarily halted operations from a pier in central Gaza after two of the aid group’s warehouses in the enclave were hit in recent fighting, the agency’s director said.”

Today’s conference in Jordan will feature three working groups to focus on 1) providing humanitarian aid to Gaza, 2)overcoming challenges facing the delivery of humanitarian aid, 3) and protecting civilians (more and more). Issue 1 has not been a problem (but could become one if reasonable flows are able to resume). Large volumes of supplies are immediately available. Issues 2 and 3 are tightly connected. “Last mile” distribution to demand is especially difficult with the grid gone, water systems destroyed, transportation networks buried in debris, hundreds-of-thousands of displaced persons constantly relocating in a perpetual search for protection, and active military operations.

Israel has not been invited to participate in the conference. The meetings will be held about 22 miles east of Jerusalem, near where the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea — a sadly appropriate metaphor for the current status of supply chains serving Gaza.


I suspect this will be my last Gaza-related post for a considerable period. From November through March I provided very modest voluntary assistance to a loose alliance of not-for-profit groups focused on Gaza supply chain solutions. Because of this role I had a potentially value-added contextual angle to offer readers. Since the end of March this role has gradually diminished. As regular readers know (too well?) I came to perceive that demands for a ceasefire had become a strategic bottleneck. Pushing for a ceasefire was and is entirely appropriate. Humanitarian aid would flow much better with a ceasefire. But as it became clear that a ceasefire would not be delivered just-in-time, I pushed non-traditional means for fulfilling demand. During March some incremental progress was made on these alternatives. But, the April 1 deaths of World Central Kitchen staff reversed just about all that progress (here and here). My attempt to push alternatives was perceived by some as complicit in these deaths. With deep regret, I do not entirely disagree. In any case, since April I have been offered fewer opportunities to advocate for potential high-risk/high-reward supply chain resilience strategies. As a result, I am reduced to reading/hearing/watching the news, not much value-add in that. At some point there will be the opportunity for an After-Action during a sustained ceasefire or even the end of hostilities. Such would be an especially welcome hot wash.