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January 2, 2024

The new year has arrived amid continued bombardments and trauma for people in Gaza as Israel pushes on with its military attacks in the territory. More than 200 Palestinians were killed in the first 24 hours of 2024 alone, in a grim sign that this year could be just as deadly as the last.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 2023 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 1948, the year of the Nakba. In the less than three months since October 7, more than 22,000 people have been killed in Gaza, including about 9,000 children and 6,450 women, according to Gaza’s health ministry – yet even these figures are likely to underestimate the actual number of casualties.

As 2024 dawns, the picture in Gaza is desperately bleak. Around 85% of the population have been displaced from their homes, with tens of thousands of people crammed into intensely overcrowded shelters without sufficient access to food, water, health or sanitation facilities. As a result of three months of near-constant bombardment and a “total siege” since October 7 following 16 years of blockade, depriving Palestinians in Gaza of food, water, fuel, and medicine, the entire population is now facing crisis levels of hunger, with UNRWA warning that 40% is at risk of famine. Diseases are spreading, and sicknesses are increasing, with rising cases of diarrhea, upper respiratory infections, chicken pox, acute jaundice syndrome, and meningitis, according to the World Health Organisation – yet most hospitals are out of operation, and few medicines are available. Nowhere is safe, with Rafah and other supposedly safe areas having come under intense bombardment.

People in Gaza are hoping that the new year will bring a permanent ceasefire immediately, and a stop to the continuous bombardments and killings of thousands of civilians, the majority of whom are women and children.

Salwa* is five months pregnant and was displaced from her home in Gaza City with her children. She said:

“I am currently staying in a tent. The situation is very tragic and bad, and life is… non-existent. There is no life at all. We wake up terrified from the sounds of bombing and shooting. What we want is a ceasefire. We want a decent life like any other living people. We have children who have not seen anything in life; no education, health, or anything else in life. All we want is a decent life.”

Riham Jafari, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Palestine, says:

“As people across the world welcome in a new year filled with hope and new promises, millions in Gaza have nothing to celebrate as their suffering continues unabated. Unless things change, 2024 could end up even deadlier than 2023, with even more people left grieving their children, parents, siblings, relatives, and friends. All that people in Gaza are wishing for in 2024 is a permanent ceasefire to put an end to this senseless bloodshed and loss of life. There can be no delay. The level of humanitarian need is already overwhelming and growing by the day – only a permanent ceasefire will allow for the killing of civilians to stop and aid on anything like the scale required to enter Gaza and reach those who need it.”


For media requests, please email or call 704 665 9743.

Spokespeople are available:

  • Meredith Slater, Director of Development for ActionAid USA
  • Riham Jafari, Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication for ActionAid Palestine

About ActionAid  

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 41 million people living in more than 71 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.   

Support Palestinians in crisis

As the human rights of people in the occupied Palestinian territories continue to be abused, women and children are especially at risk. Gaza faces a dire lack of medical facilities, schools, and homes, as so many have been hit by Israeli airstrikes. ActionAid works in communities near the border with Israel that have been most directly affected by the violence. ActionAid's women-led response is supporting the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities.