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6 February 2009

Beyond the worsening shortage of food, mattresses, blankets and clothes for Gaza's 1.4 million beleaguered residents, Israel's continued closure of most access points is depriving the United Nations of paper to print out a human rights program to teach children to eschew violence, a senior UN official said on Thursday. [...] Also in Gaza, the UN World Food Program (WFP) announced Thursday that it will provide ready-to-eat meals for hospital patients who might otherwise go hungry due to food and fuel shortages. The assistance is in addition to the agency's regular distributions of wheat flour, cooking oil and chickpeas to 365,000 people affected by conflict and food shortages. WFP is aiming to distribute more than 40,000 ready-to-eat meals in the coming days. The packages, which contain items such as canned meat, chicken curry, cheese and biscuits, are part of the first tranche of ready-to-eat meals donated by Saudi Arabia in response to WFP's "Operation Lifeline Gaza" appeal.


6 February 2009

The United Nations agency that distributes food to a majority of Gaza’s refugees said Friday that it was suspending imports of goods because Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza, had twice stolen aid from it. The agency said that it would not import any more until the stolen goods were returned and assurances were given that the theft would not recur.


4 February 2009

The United Nations agency that provides assistance to Palestinian refugees said Wednesday that the Hamas police in Gaza had seized aid supplies intended for the needy, signaling increased tensions between the agency and the Hamas leaders of the Palestinian enclave. The accusation was made in a statement by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or Unrwa, which condemned the action “in the strongest terms” and demanded the return of the goods. On Tuesday afternoon, according to the statement, the police confiscated about 3,500 blankets and more than 400 food parcels from a warehouse at the Gaza City Beach Camp that were meant to help hundreds of families in the area.


3 February 2009

The United Nations is urgently appealing for 613 million dollars to aid more than a million desperate civilians in the ruins of Gaza, where schools, hospitals, houses, factories and even farmland were obliterated during the three-week assault by Israeli air and ground forces. Over 1,300 Palestinians were killed and more than 5,300 injured in the war, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Some 21,000 homes were reported destroyed or badly damaged, and more than 50,000 people were displaced into temporary U.N. shelters. "Whole industrial areas [were] completely flattened, buildings blasted into piles of rubble," Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme's (WFP) country director for the occupied Palestinian territories, reported after her recent trip to Gaza. "While there were some areas left totally untouched, it was precisely the strategic economic areas that Gaza depends on to relieve its dependency on aid that were wiped out," she wrote.


1 February 2009

Gaza's 1.5 million people are facing a food crisis as a result of the destruction of great areas of farmland during the Israeli invasion. According to the World Food Programme, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation and Palestinian officials, between 35% and 60% of the agriculture industry has been wrecked by the three-week Israeli attack, which followed two years of economic siege. Christine van Nieuwenhuyse, the World Food Programme's country director, said: "We are hearing that 60% of the land in the north - where the farming was most intensive - may not be exploitable again. It looks to me like a disaster. It is not just farmland, but poultry as well.


30 January 2009

More than two dozen trucks loaded with food, aid and goods intended for the Gaza Strip were stranded on the Egyptian side of the border Thursday, leaving truckers with little to do but sip tea and exude frustration. The backlog raises questions about a U.N. appeal announced Thursday which calls for $613 million to help Palestinians recover from Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza and whether new aid will have much effect until there is a deal to open the devastated territory's borders. "The ordinary people here in Gaza are not getting enough help and are not getting it quickly enough," said John Ging, the top U.N. official in Gaza. He blamed the aid shortage on the lack of access to Gaza and demanded that the border crossings be opened.


30 January 2009

The United Nations today launched an appeal for $613 million to help people affected by Israel's three-week military offensive in the Gaza Strip, which killed some 1,300 Palestinians, injured more than 5,300, 34 per cent of them children, and caused widespread damage and destruction. The appeal will cover requirements of the UN and other aid agencies for the next six to nine months and cover critical areas such as food, water, sanitation, health care and shelter, as well as support basic services, such as education, according to the UN news center. [...] UN agencies are now helping to feed some 1.3 million of Gaza's 1.42 million residents, with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) taking care of the 900,000 refugees there and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) tending to the others. "From a logistic point of view... we are doing our best," WFP Regional Director Daly Belgasmi told a news briefing in New York, stressing the need for a full opening of the crossing points, which Israel again briefly closed on Tuesday following a border bomb attack.


29 January 2009

Joining the chorus of United Nations officials calling for the uninterrupted opening of border crossings into the Gaza Strip, the World Food Programme's (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East today said that meeting the immediate needs of Palestinians left traumatized and homeless by Israel's three-week war with Hamas required the free flow of not just emergency food, but fuel, medicines and necessary building supplies. World Food Programme's Daly Belgasmi, whose responsibility also includes Central Asia and Eastern Europe, told correspondents during a Headquarters press conference that the sporadic border closings were only adding to the challenges the agency faced as Operation Lifeline Gaza scaled up deliveries of nutrition-fortified date bars, ready-to-eat meals for hospitals and schools, as well as sugar, wheat flour and vegetable oil.


29 January 2009

Joining the chorus of United Nations officials calling for the uninterrupted opening of border crossings into the Gaza Strip, the World Food Programme's (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East today said that meeting the immediate needs of Palestinians left traumatized and homeless by Israel's three-week war with Hamas required the free flow of not just emergency food, but fuel, medicines and necessary building supplies. World Food Programme's Daly Belgasmi, whose responsibility also includes Central Asia and Eastern Europe, told correspondents during a Headquarters press conference that the sporadic border closings were only adding to the challenges the agency faced as Operation Lifeline Gaza scaled up deliveries of nutrition-fortified date bars, ready-to-eat meals for hospitals and schools, as well as sugar, wheat flour and vegetable oil.


29 January 2009

The UN has launched an appeal for $613m to help people affected by Israel's military offensive in Gaza. "These needs are massive and multi-faceted," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the World Economic Forum in Davos. He added that funds would be used to "help overcome at least some measures of this hardship". In the region itself, US envoy George Mitchell said the Palestinian Authority should play a part in cementing the Gaza Strip's shaky truce.