The flight left RAF Brize Norton this morning and will deliver twenty-one tonnes of life-saving UK aid for civilians in Gaza.
Essential supplies including 76,800 wound care packs, 1,350 water filters and 2,560 solar lights were dispatched to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis.
The UK has also delivered a temporary, rapid-assembly warehouse and mechanical handling equipment including two forklift trucks, which can be set up close to the Rafah border crossing to respond quickly to needs on the ground.
The aid is part of the £30 million increase in humanitarian support for the Occupied Palestinian Territories announced by the Prime Minister – more than doubling the UK’s existing commitment for this year from £27m to £57m.
Supplies will be distributed via the Egyptian Red Crescent, which has requested them to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza. Each water filter and light is intended to support a family of five.
In addition, ministers have been engaged in intensive diplomatic activity in response to this crisis.
Last week the Prime Minister visited Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where he pushed for greater humanitarian access to Gaza and led efforts to help prevent regional escalation.
The Foreign Secretary visited Egypt, Turkey and Qatar over the past week, where he pushed for agreement on humanitarian access to Gaza, the release of British hostages and foreign nationals, and securing safe passage for British nationals to leave Gaza.
And the Defence Secretary is visiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week to discuss measures to prevent a wider conflict, as well as humanitarian issues. He also met his counterpart in Washington last week to coordinate the UK and US’s response to the crisis.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said:
Today’s airlift is a clear demonstration of the UK’s commitment to helping those most in need – rapidly deploying the RAF to get life-saving aid into the region.
Together with our regional partners it’s critical that we prioritise protecting all civilians from harm – that’s why I’m in the Middle East this week to work with defence leaders on deterring a wider conflict that would have devastating consequences for families across the region.
To support the FCDO team in country with distributing aid shipments, the UK’s military advisory team attached to the embassy in Egypt has been bolstered, following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement last week that other teams in the region had already been increased.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:
The urgent humanitarian need in Gaza is clear. This delivery of vital UK aid into Egypt will save lives but more is needed.
Humanitarian aid must continue to be allowed into Gaza to reach the people who need it most. The UK is working with Israel, Egypt and other partners in the region to enable life-saving aid to reach civilians including food, water, medical supplies and fuel as a priority.
The Department for Health and Social Care has donated 76,800 wound care packs from its stockpiles. These include sterilised clinical equipment and protective clothing.