Egyptian humanitarians work nonstop at Rafah crossing to prepare aid trucks for Gaza
6 November 2023
by Mahmoud Fouly
RAFAH, Egypt, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- "We work day and night in preparing and stacking the aid supplies. We forget all our fatigue when seeing the aid trucks going through the crossing and heading to Gaza," said an Egyptian volunteer, who was preparing supplies for Gaza on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing.
Ibrahim Abdel-Hamid, a 25-year-old volunteer from Cairo with the non-governmental organization Life Makers Foundation, was among dozens of humanitarians surrounded by lined-up trailers carrying aid supplies, such as food, water, and medicine, waiting to be delivered to the adjacent besieged Gaza.
The Egyptian aid workers at Rafah crossing belong to several humanitarian NGOs, including the Egyptian Red Crescent Society, the Egyptian Food Bank, and others, all working around the clock under a coalition named the National Alliance for Civil Development Work (NACDW).
"It is the least we can do to help relieve the suffering of the Gazan people," the Egyptian young man told Xinhua.
"They are in dire need of each carton of aid we send. We work very hard and fast because every second really matters," he added.
The man and his fellows in the cargo area coordinated like a conveyor belt -- one standing on the ground hands a carton box to another at the entrance of the container and then to a third one to fill the box with aid supplies.
Since the first convoy of aid trucks entered Gaza via the crossing on Oct. 21, the Palestinian enclave has received about 420 aid trucks as of early Saturday. Yet, international relief agencies say it's still far from enough to meet the "enormous humanitarian needs" in the conflicting zone.
"We hope there will be more and continuous flows of aid to them," said Mohamed Rageh, director of the North Sinai Office of the Misr El Kheir Foundation, also a member of NACDW.
He noted that aid trucks entering Gaza per day have amounted to 60 from the previous 20.
Before heading to Gaza, the shipments have to go through Israel's Nitzana crossing for inspection first. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Sunday that the logistic difficulties imposed by Israel and its repeated bombing of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing delayed the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.
Egypt's Rafah crossing and El-Arish airport, which receives relief planes from other countries, were described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during his visit to Egypt in October, as "the lifelines to the people of Gaza."
"We didn't stop working for a moment since the beginning of the crisis, busy collecting donations and purchasing, preparing, packaging, and stacking aid supplies," said Abdel-Rahman Habat, the basic needs portfolio manager at Life Makers Foundation.
As of Sunday, the Israeli attacks on Gaza continued. The Israel-Hamas conflict, raging for nearly a month, has led to the deaths of 9,770 Palestinians in Gaza. On the Israeli side, more than 1,400 people lost their lives, the vast majority in the Hamas military attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, which triggered the ongoing conflict.