Minister Geoffrey van Leeuwen announces extra €25 million in emergency aid for Gaza during visit to Rafah border crossing
The Netherlands is making an extra €25 million available for humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza. The Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Geoffrey van Leeuwen, announced the new funding on Wednesday during his visit to the Rafah crossing, on Egypt’s border with Gaza. Minister Van Leeuwen is visiting the crossing together with Minister of Foreign Affairs Hanke Bruins Slot. The contribution will be used to supply food, water, medical care and fuel for electricity and heating. A sum of €15 million will be spent on aid provided by the Red Cross and Red Crescent, while the remaining €10 million will be distributed via the UN’s Palestinian relief agency, UNRWA.
Minister Van Leeuwen: ‘The situation in Gaza is desperate and the level of need is enormous. It is very important to hear from the Egyptian authorities and the aid organisations working here about the biggest bottlenecks. My three priorities are ensuring full access for humanitarian aid, considerably increasing the amount of aid – including vital fuel – for the people of Gaza, and enhancing the security of aid workers in Gaza. All of my government’s efforts are aimed at those goals.’
At the Rafah border crossing the ministers spoke with representatives of the Egyptian Red Crescent. The vast majority of international emergency aid is currently being stored in Rafah. However, due in part to the Netherlands’ ongoing diplomatic efforts, aid is now also being allowed into to Gaza via the border crossing at Kerem Shalom. According to the UN, Kerem Shalom is the only crossing equipped to rapidly process aid trucks, thanks in part to special scanners donated years ago by the Netherlands.
The new aid contribution comes on top of €25 million in additional aid the Dutch government has already pledged to Gaza, bringing the total of extra funding to €50 million. This figure itself is in addition to the Netherlands’ existing 2023 budget of €51 million for development cooperation and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people.
After leaving Egypt Minister Van Leeuwen will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories. There, too, the humanitarian situation in Gaza will be high on the minister’s agenda.