EU pledges 7.7 bln euros for world needs in 2024 including Gaza

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The European Union on Monday pledged to spend an initial 7.7 billion euros ($8.39 billion) on humanitarian aid in 2024, less than last year despite soaring needs in Gaza and elsewhere.

“I think this is a solid amount … but it could be better,” EU humanitarian aid and crisis management chief Janez Lenarcic told the opening of a humanitarian conference in Brussels.

Last year, the bloc pledged 8.4 billion euros.

No reason was given for the decrease.

The UN says a record 300 million people need aid, mostly due to conflicts and climate change, and estimates a funding gap of around $50 billion.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the situation in Gaza was especially dire. “We are no longer on the brink of famine, we are in a state of famine,” he said.

The enclave has been largely sealed off during the five-month war between Israel and Hamas militants.


Catherine Russell, executive director of the UN children’s agency UNICEF, said every third Gazan child was severely malnourished, with more resources needed for aid as well as political pressure to safeguard operations on the ground.

The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Mirjana Spoljaric, said in reaction to the funding pledge that some donors were struggling with economic restraints at a time of rising conflicts.

Red Cross employees had repeatedly come under fire in Gaza, Spoljaric added, calling the situation “beyond despair”.

With regards to a new land route into northern Gaza, used for the time since the end of February last week, Spoljaric said mobility was still very restricted and that reaching people there remained very difficult.

“We need to be able to bring in a lot more food, water medicine … to prevent starvation and to prevent death because of medical consequences”, she said.

Israel denies obstructing aid into Gaza, blaming aid agencies for delays and accusing Hamas of diverting supplies. Hamas denies this and says Israel uses hunger as a weapon of war.