Number of aid trucks reaching Gaza ‘totally inadequate’, says UK minister

Britain has said the number of aid trucks allowed into Gaza is “grossly inadequate”, amid warnings of a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell said he is talking to the United Nations almost daily about their activities and how it can “increase” the number of trucks entering Egypt through the Rafah crossing.

The spokeswoman for the UN agency for Palestine refugees, Tamara Alrifai, told the BBC that the 54 trucks that entered Gaza in recent days “were nowhere near enough in quantity and content”.

Gaza's 2.2 million people have run out of food, water, medicine and fuel since Israel blockaded the area following deadly attacks by Hamas on October 7.

The key is to increase the number of trucks passing through Rafah – the current number is completely insufficient

International Development Minister Andrew Mitchell

Speaking in the House of Commons, Labor MP Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) warned that aid reaching Gaza is “not nearly enough to prevent a humanitarian disaster”, as she pressed for fuel to be allowed in.

Mr Mitchell replied: “The number of trucks passing through each day is very small and we will continue to press all relevant authorities to allow humanitarian support and assistance of the type you described through the Rafah crossing to help those whose conditions It's exactly as described.”

Conservative MP Sara Britcliffe (Hyndburn) said: “We know the UN has said it needs at least 100 trucks a day to get aid to those who desperately need it.”

Mr Mitchell replied: “The key is to increase the number of trucks going through Rafah – the current number is completely inadequate – and I speak to (UN emergency coordinator) Martin Griffiths almost every day about UN operations. they're trying to increase that number.”

Labor MP Vicky Foxcroft (Lewisham Deptford) said earlier: “Children in Gaza have started writing their names on their hands so they can be identified and buried with their families when they are killed.

“What measures is the government taking to prevent more children from being harmed by Israel's military action and to ensure a swift end to this conflict?”

Mr Mitchell replied: “We are doing everything we can to protect children and UK aid is already making a difference by supporting the international relief effort, which is going through Rafa.”

We always ensure that UK aid money is protected from misuse

Secretary of State James Cleverley

Elsewhere at Foreign Office questions on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary James Cleverley said no amount of British aid goes directly to the Palestinian Authority.

Conservative MP Chris Clarkson (Heywood and Middleton) said: “It has been reported that the Palestinian Authority will pay up to three million dollars a month in so-called martyr's wages to the families of dead and captured Hamas terrorists.

“Will (the foreign secretary) join me in condemning these payments to rapists, torturers, murderers, some of whom have killed British people? And will he also use his good offices to ensure that no British aid money goes to this dirty practice?'

Mr Cleverly said: “I can assure him that we always ensure that British aid money is protected from misuse, and I can confirm to him and the House that no amount of British aid goes directly to the Palestinian Authority.

“We have raised this very issue with the Palestinian Authority and emphasized our belief that this is not conducive to good relations and a future two-state solution.”

The Palestinian Authority's payment of benefits to thousands of families who had relatives killed, injured or imprisoned in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been a source of controversy.

Israel has said the payments incentivize terrorism, while the Palestinians have said they provide vital support to needy families.