Information for people affected by the conflict in Gaza and the West Bank

Information for people affected by the conflict in Gaza and the West Bank

We acknowledge that your current situation is incredibly dangerous and distressing for you and your loved ones. We are very sorry you have to go through this. Please know that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) are doing their best to help you. We all face massive challenges but our commitment to help is never broken. Please remember that all services provided by humanitarian organizations are free of charge.
Article 07 February 2024 Israel and the occupied territories

Please find here: the Arabic and the French versions

Last updated on 7 February 2024

Access to electricity is a challenge and due to the lack of it, affected people in Gaza might not be able to see this. We are hopeful that family members living outside the occupied territories can and will relay any information they deem important to their loved ones whenever possible.

How can the ICRC help me?

Since the beginning of hostilities, in Gaza, we have been supporting the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and other emergency service providers with medical supplies.

We have surgical teams in Gaza working from the European Gaza Hospital. They have performed around 500 surgical procedures.

We have received more than 4'000 enquiries from people in and outside of Gaza desperate to know about the fate of their missing family members.

We are compiling these enquiries and are speaking with the authorities to try and clarify the fate of the individuals concerned. This can take some time given the volatile situation now. We continue working on this on a daily basis despite the challenges we face. We will be in touch with families directly to keep them informed.

We provided 10,000 vulnerable households in Gaza with cash support to cover basic needs for one month. The people that have received it are mostly persons internally displaced by the ongoing hostilities.

More on our activities

How can I contact the ICRC?

For contact in Arabic, you can reach the ICRC by calling: 08 283 2400.

Our lines are working every day of the week from 08:00 to 16:00.

Please note that: Due to power and network cuts and high volume of inquiries the team might be temporarily unable to answer the call at the very moment that you place your call. We ask you to call again and not give up.

Privacy and confidentiality of the information we receive is of the utmost importance to us. Therefore, the ICRC does not use WhatsApp, or any other online messaging app for its services. Thank you for your understanding.

Can you help me find a family member I have lost contact with?

We are very sorry you don't have news from your loved one(s). No one should be subjected to this kind of agony.

If you are concerned about a family member with whom you have lost contact and you live outside the occupied territories, please contact your local National Red Cross/Red Crescent Society or an ICRC office closest to your residence and submit a tracing request. You can find a contact directory here.

If you are concerned about a family member with whom you have lost contact and you would like to contact us in Arabic, you can reach the ICRC by calling: 08 283 2400. Please note that power and network cuts do temporarily interrupt our ability to answer calls.

Why is it taking so long for you to contact me back and to find my family member?

We depend on the information that the parties to the conflict share with us and the access they give us to places of detention. We connect with the family when we have something substantial that we can share. We are sorry that we cannot give you answers more quickly. Due to the high volume of requests, it may take us weeks to contact you back. We understand how the days without news add to your agony and we thank you in advance for your understanding.

Did ICRC teams evacuate Gaza? Are local staff left behind?

ICRC teams were informed they needed to evacuate from the position they were in. Following security procedures, they were obliged to relocate within the Gaza Strip. The ICRC will continue at every level to advocate for humanitarian space and respect for IHL. We will continue to have teams on the ground and respond to needs wherever possible. They are working to the best of their capability in light of the rapidly evolving situation. The ICRC fully intends to remain in Gaza.

Can you help me leave or evacuate someone from Gaza?

Unfortunately, we are not able and not equipped to help individuals or groups in leaving Gaza. Nor can we provide any support or money to transport people to the border of Egypt or to other countries. This is currently outside our capacity. We are aware of the fear and uncertainty you might be feeling in this difficult situation. We are deeply sorry that we cannot provide a better answer on this to you.

Can you help me get an asylum/humanitarian visa?

Unfortunately, we cannot help you get humanitarian visas or asylum. To ask for asylum, you should apply as soon as you arrive to the country of destination. This is directly processed by the country's authorities.

I need to evacuate my house. Can you confirm it is safe or talk to Israeli authorities to guarantee our security?

Unfortunately, we cannot give safety assurances for the movement of people and goods in Gaza. The current environment does not allow for security guarantees for humanitarian services.

Currently, we collaborate with the Palestinian Red Crescent (PRCS) or other emergency providers in this regard. On several occasions, the ICRC has supported the movement of PRCS ambulances from areas in northern Gaza to the south. This movement included civilians and PRCS staff. However, given the very difficult security conditions on the ground, providing this type of support has become increasingly challenging. Our staff in Gaza are also facing immense risks every day. When the situation allows, we will continue to offer our support.

My family member was arrested, can you give us information about where he/she is?

ICRC detention visits to Israeli detention centers have been suspended since 7 October 2023.

We are working non-stop with relevant Israeli authorities to resume the ICRC's detention visits, and its Family Visit Program for Palestinian detainees held in Israeli places of detention. Having information about the detainees is one of the ICRC's priorities at present.

Rest assured that our team will contact you as soon as we have news about your detained relative.

What can I do when there is shelling/explosions?

If there is shelling, find a lower ground to hide. Stay as far as possible from the windows.

Lie down, wrap your arms around your head, and cover your ears.

Open your mouth to avoid internal injuries, it can reduce the impact of explosive waves on your body.

Wait until the shooting is over before you move to a safer shelter.

If you find strange metallic objects such as bullets and shells, please keep your distance and do not touch them. They can cause injury or even kill.

To report unexploded ordinance, call 100.

A family member has died, can you help me know where the body is and return it?

We are very sorry for your loss, and we hope you are getting the support you need in these difficult times.

The current situation is very complex. In other contexts, ICRC can sometimes act as a neutral intermediary to organize or support a transfer of human remains if requested and agreed by the parties to the conflict.

However, we are currently not able to support or organize the evacuation of the dead from the affected region. This would only be possible if security conditions allow, and authorities requested and agreed. With the current situation, ICRC cannot guarantee when or if this will become possible.

Can you provide me with food and other basic needs in Gaza?

It is important to clarify that we provide this type of support mainly to non-UN shelters, the Palestine Red Crescent and other service providers. We currently don't have the capacity to give humanitarian aid to individual families.

Please, if you need assistance, make sure to register with the Ministry of Social Development (الشؤون الإجتماعية) or with the local committees in the shelter.

I want to register for cash support in Gaza

Currently the ICRC does not register individuals for cash programs. Please make sure to register with the Ministry of Social Development (الشؤون الإجتماعية) if you need assistance.

In December, we finalized a program that supported 10,000 vulnerable households in Gaza, mostly persons internally displaced by the ongoing hostilities. We provided each household with 750 ILS to cover basic needs for one month.

In case any future cash programs like this are foreseen to happen, rest assured that you will be notified directly or through partner service providers. Thank you for your understanding.

Can you provide medical support to my family member in Gaza?

We are aware of the dire medical/health situation in Gaza. We are sorry you or your loved one needs medical attention. We have provided medical equipment and medicine directly to health providers in Gaza and the Ministry of Health.

Our direct medical services are taking place in the European Gaza Hospital, were we have surgical teams. They specialise in the clinical management of weapon-wounded patients, reconstructive surgery, and orthopaedic surgery, among other procedures.

Is there anything I can do to help the ICRC?

Thank you very much for your support. Right now, our teams are working around the clock to help those affected by the violence. If you want to show your support for the ICRC, please do not hesitate to use your voice and share with your community, whether in person or online, factual information about what the ICRC does.

We are transparent about what we do and our limitations. We exist to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance, and your support will help us to achieve that.