Gaza: Humanitarian Aid and Children — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall am 2:29 pm ar 8 Chwefror 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 2:29, 8 Chwefror 2024

That is a very good question. We are talking to all counterparts. On Sunday of last week, my noble Friend Lord Ahmad, the Minister for the middle east, spoke to the UNRWA commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, who provided an update regarding the UN investigation. We will keep closely in touch with the progress of that investigation, and that will inform our decision. Up until the point at which we are satisfied, the pause will remain in place, but the Minister for the middle east will keep colleagues updated.

In terms of our calls for increased border crossings and access, children need additional food and shelter and the health support that we are providing through our partnerships with all the UN agencies, NGOs and Red Crescent societies. From the £60 million that I mentioned, we have provided specific, targeted support for children through our £5.75 million contribution to UNICEF. Our funding is supporting its work to assist more than 5,800 children with severe malnourishment, as well as providing 853,000 people with emergency child protection services, including the mental health and psychological support that, as we have heard this afternoon, is very badly needed.

We are also a founding member of and a key donor to Education Cannot Wait, the global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises. The fund is supporting several education interventions in Gaza. However, its ability to reach children who so desperately need help is, of course, restricted by the very grave security situation.

The Foreign Secretary discussed the urgency of getting significantly more aid into Gaza, to alleviate the desperate situation there, with Prime Minister Netanyahu on 24 January. He reiterated the need for Israel to open more crossing points into Gaza, for Nitzana and Kerem Shalom to be open for longer, and for Israel to support the UN to distribute aid more effectively across the whole of Gaza.