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Food distribution in Gaza

ZOA provides food to Gaza families

Since November 2023, ZOA has been actively responding in the Gaza Strip by distributing food to families who have lost everything due to the war. This is still on a small scale: this week we distributed 180 food parcels with locally purchased products. “We urgently need fuel to do something even more substantial,” says ZOA emergency aid worker Hielke Zantema.

Emergency aid worker hielke zantema about Gaza:

'I have rarely felt so powerless in this work'

“The immediate needs such as water and food are the biggest problem,” says Zantema. ZOA has therefore started food distribution with products that are locally grown and available. For example, ZOA provided the means to purchase a cow to be slaughtered, and the meat to distributed to hundreds families. Locally grown vegetables (such as tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, cucumbers and peppers) together with locally purchased non-perishable products (such as pasta, rice, flour and oil) were put together in food parcels and provided to needy families.

Water well

Lack of fuel is currently the biggest bottleneck in helping many more people. This is necessary, for example, to bake bread and pump water. "The supply of fuel is literally of vital importance. This will allow us to help people on a much larger scale." For example, a well at a school in Khan Younis could provide much more water using fuel. The fuel is also essential to drive trucks to distribute the water throughout the area. "We could provide drinking water to thousands of people every day." The petrol is also needed to distribute bread. Agreements have already been made with a local bakery to provide 3,000 people with 3 pita breads per day for the next four months.

Children in Gaza receive food


Emergency aid for Gaza is getting off to a slow start. Since the fighting has been continuing for more than three months the needs are unbearable and Gaza is running completely out of stock. "I have rarely felt so powerless in this work," says Hielke Zantema. As an emergency aid coordinator at ZOA, he is often on site within a few days. For example, when the war broke out in Ukraine. The situation in Gaza is very different. “I have never experienced an area where two million people live in such a small area being hermetically sealed off from just about everything.


Exactly this terrible humanitarian situation led to ZOA’s decision to provide emergency aid in Gaza. “We know that stepping into this conflict can be sensitive to some people,” acknowledges program director Edwin Visser. “This is a conflict in which our supporters are closely involved. But for us this is separate from politics. ZOA exists to help people who are suffering because of conflict or natural disaster. Just like in all other places where we work, we try to do this as good as possible, regardless of the political situation,” Visser emphasizes. “We work with small Christian organizations and churches that have proven their reliability for years. They are even victims of this war themselves, so I have great respect for what they do under this circumstances.”

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ZOA provides food in Gaza