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Emergencies
10 January 2009

Josette Sheeran, executive director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), visited the town of Rafah, close to the southern extreme of [the Gaza strip], to see the situation on the ground first-hand, and [assess] the needs of the Palestinian civilian population. […] Sheeran said that WFP plans to increase its direct distribution of food, to feed 360,000 people in the enclave who do not have refugee status, [up from] the 250,000 currently in care. The food, she added, is already in storage awaiting the green light.

Emergencies
9 January 2009

Fourteen days after Israel launched its offensive on Gaza, 80% of Gaza's population is in dire need of food aid, WFP said on Friday. Although WFP is able to deliver food into Gaza, distributions are severely hampered due to security concerns, WFP spokesperson Nancy Roman said.

Emergencies
9 January 2009

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution Friday "recognizing Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza," a measure that it said reaffirms the United States' strong support for Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. [...] The bill was [...] passed amid growing concerns over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where more than 1 million Palestinians are without food and clean water, according to senior U.S. officials, citing reports from the World Food Program.

Emergencies
9 January 2009

According to the United Nations World Food Programme, at least 80 percent of the population of Gaza is in need of urgent food aid. The director of WFP Josette Sheeran demands Israel allow better access for humanitarian aid to Gaza

Emergencies
9 January 2009

U.N. officials said Friday they will resume their suspended humanitarian aid operations in Gaza "as soon as practical," based on assurances from the Israeli Ministry of Defense that aid workers be better protected. U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said Friday that the Israeli military told the U.N. it "deeply regretted" the incidents that led the U.N. to suspend aid in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. The U.N. halted deliveries to the Gaza Strip on Thursday after gunfire from an Israeli tank killed an aid truck driver, and the international Red Cross said it would restrict activities after one of its drivers was injured in a similar incident. [...] With the assurances Friday that Israel will not shoot at the vehicles, the World Food Program and UNICEF can resume moving supplies into or around Gaza. Those agencies said they were still operating in the Palestinian territory, where 1 million people are without electricity and 750,000 are without running water, according to the U.N. relief agency.

Emergencies
9 January 2009

A U.N. team will head to the Horn of Africa next week to explore ways of supporting the African Union (A.U.) peacekeeping force in Somalia where violence sees an upsurge, U.N. said on its website Friday. The team includes the U.N. deputy special representative for Somalia, Charles Petrie, representatives from U.N. Political Office for Somalia as well as departments of peacekeeping, field support and political affairs at the UN Headquarters in New York. Talks will be held in Nairobi and Addis Ababa to discuss ways of supporting the A.U. mission as well as Somalia's transitional security forces and police. [...] Thursday the World Food Programme reported one staff member was shot dead by gunmen near the capital Mogadishu, the second killing of its worker in the country within three days.

Emergencies
8 January 2009

UN and international agencies accuse of the worsening situations in Gaza and are warning the consequences. WFP stressed that the food distributions in Gaza is "extremely difficult." Because of the fighting, only a quarter of the food for some 265,000 people has been distributed. WFP also added that even in the areas where food distribution is possible, people are afraid of going outside therefore 50 % of the 1.5 million residents could be in hunger.


7 January 2009

As the Israeli offensive in Gaza ended its 11th day, foreign ministers from the key powers arrived in New York for a 48-hour period of frenetic diplomacy. [...] The search for a diplomatic solution to the crisis seems to be coalescing behind the proposal by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, backed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, for a truce followed by talks with Israel and the Palestinians.


7 January 2009

Israel said Wednesday that it would send senior officials to talk with Egypt about halting the conflict in Gaza, but there were no immediate signs of a diplomatic breakthrough. Fighting between Israel and Hamas militants continued after a brief pause earlier in the day. International pressure for a negotiated cease-fire intensified a day after Israeli shells killed some 40 people at a United Nations school in Gaza.


7 January 2009

Israeli aircraft have dropped leaflets over Rafah in southern Gaza, warning people to leave the border city before air strikes are launched. Rafah has the only crossing between the Palestinian territory and Egypt, but it is largely closed. It also has an extensive network of illegal tunnels into Egypt, used by Hamas militants as well as civilians to smuggle supplies.