Emergency ResponseIsrael-Gaza Conflict

HIAS is working to meet urgent humanitarian needs and provide community mental health support to those impacted by the current crisis in Israel.

Overview

Residents inspect the damage to their building in the southern city of Ashkelon on October 9, 2023, after it was hit during the night by a rocket from the Gaza Strip. (Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images)

The impact of the October 7 attacks continues to be felt across Israel

As families grieve the more than 1,200 lives lost, rockets continue to target heavily populated civilian centers across the country — and an estimated 136 people are still being held hostage in Gaza. An estimated 200,000-250,000 Israelis have been internally displaced, including dozens of communities near the Gaza Strip and along the border with Lebanon, where increased tensions have led the government to issue evacuation orders.  

For more than 70 years, HIAS has utilized its presence in Israel to aid newcomers and refugees through providing services and creating safe spaces of welcome. Within 24 hours of the brutal attacks of October 7, HIAS activated its Emergency Response team to provide life-saving support to those displaced in Israel and provided critical security information to asylum seekers and displaced families. HIAS will continue to focus on providing basic needs, cash assistance, mental health support, and legal protections to the hundreds of thousands of people displaced.  

This page will be updated frequently to reflect HIAS’ response to this developing crisis.
Latest update: February 13, 2024.

Impact

"HIAS Is Bringing Us All the Things We Are Missing"

Tekie Asrat, an asylum seeker from Eritrea, describes how HIAS Israel has helped him after being displaced by the attacks of October 7, 2023. For years, HIAS Israel has provided services to asylum seekers from Eritrea and other African countries, a population that had fled war and oppression in their home countries. Many of these asylum seekers have since endured further trauma in the wake of October 7.

Humanitarian needs

Humanitarian needs

To understand critical needs and gaps in services, HIAS Emergency Response teams assessed displaced communities and consulted with local and national NGOs within 48 hours of the attacks. Assessments confirmed the need for coordinated and sustained basic needs including cash assistance, counseling and psychosocial support, and an array of protection programs for the displaced, especially children.

Displaced persons who fall outside of government support, such as refugees and migrant workers, were further identified as having urgent needs. HIAS continues to assess needs, reaching out to refugees, migrants, Israeli citizens, and other communities in locations where needs are reportedly unmet. Like many rapid onset emergencies, there is a swell of community-organized services and support for those displaced, however, more sustainable solutions are needed as teams prepare for the days and weeks ahead.

Volunteers from HIAS compile lists of African women residing in Israel, seeking aid during a food and supplies distribution event in Tel Aviv. (AG for HIAS)

HIAS' Response

HIAS' Response

HIAS began with emergency protection services and shelter assistance and has now expanded its response to include cash assistance, provision of food and household items, and psychosocial support services. Remote vulnerable communities that were forcibly displaced from the attacks in the South, including Eritrean families who had been seeking asylum in Israel before the crisis, are especially at risk. HIAS is providing:

  • Urgent items such as hygiene supplies, blankets, school supplies, and dignity kits
  • Cash and voucher assistance to those affected by the crisis, especially those in shelters
  • Help through local partners for additional health, protection, housing/shelter, and legal services
  • Mental health and psychosocial support
  • Child protection
  • Referrals and information for additional services

HIAS has over 20 national partnerships, which are being reconfigured to support urgent needs, and has also formed new partnerships during this emergency.

Volunteers prepare the distribution rations during the collaborative effort of HIAS’ Emergency Response and HaHamal HaMeshutaf in providing essential food assistance to 500 families in the Negev region, Israel. (Sergey Ponomarev for HIAS)

Response Achievements

Response Achievements

HIAS and our partners are working to meet urgent humanitarian needs and provide community mental health support to those affected.

  • 66,721 people received MHPSS first aid.
  • 6,430 people accessed information to get services and protect themselves.
  • 2,924 people supported with emergency food assistance.
  • 1,231 people received individual support sessions.
  • 309 people received non-food item kits. 
  • 211 people received cash and/or voucher assistance. 
  • 148 people received group support sessions.
  • 129 children accessed safe spaces.

 

African asylum-seekers, Yordanos (C) and Tagasti (R), who live with their children in Israel, talk during a food and other supplies distribution by HIAS in Tel-Aviv, Israel. (AG for HIAS)

A MESSAGE FROM HIASSustaining Life Amid the Devastation

As an organization that is deeply rooted in humanity and empathy, advocating for the rights and safety of vulnerable people around the world, HIAS recognizes the pain of any life destroyed. … We demand that the parties to the conflict protect civilians from violence as required by international law, and that doctors and aid workers receive the support they need to save lives so we can prevent the growing humanitarian crisis from becoming a complete humanitarian catastrophe.  

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