Monday, June 25, 2007

On the verge of catastrophe in Gaza

Oxfam condemns the caging of Gaza, demands immediate reopen

author Monday June 25, 2007 10:12author by George Rishmawi - IMEMC Newsauthor email george at imemc dot org Report this post to the editors
Oxfam International, condemned aid blockade of Gaza that is leaving more than 1.3 million Palestinians on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. Oxfam, a humanitarian aid agency, called on all actors in the conflict to ensure that urgently needed food, medicine and water supplies are allowed into the Gaza Strip immediately.


Oxfam’s call which comes as Israeli and Palestinian leaders meet today in Egypt, demands that reopening of the Gaza borders be a top priority on the agenda to allow essential supplies to enter.

Failing to do so, the entire region’s economy and basic services such as health and water systems will collapse.

“The international community is closing its eyes to its humanitarian obligations and allowing the suffering to intensify. Aid is being drip-fed across the border. The entrapment of Gaza is completely unacceptable. We urge the key players to resolve what has been a completely avoidable crisis,” Jeremy Hobbs Director of Oxfam International said.

Only 20 trucks a day are permitted t enter Gaza Strip, however, to meet peoples essential needs, Oxfam says, at least 100 trucks per day are needed, as there are just days until food supplies will run out, fuel is scarce and essential medicines are also critically low.

In addition to the supply issue, Oxfam pointed out a serious problem with the sewage in the Strip.

Oxfam pointed out that The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) who is an Oxfam-Partner operating the Beit Lahia Sewage Works fear that the works could burst swamping up to 10,000 in sewage and contaminate the water supplies of 300,000, creating a public health crisis.

The CMWU has been waiting for over three months for $500,000 worth of equipment. There are only 10 days of chlorine supplies left and people may soon have to start to drink contaminated water.

Hobbs added, “Withholding aid as a political weapon is bringing untold suffering to an entire population. This shames the international community. Water equipment has been waiting at Gaza’s border for more than three months. These sanctions must cease immediately.”

Oxfam expressed concerns, that the dire situation in Gaza Strip will be ignored in Sharm Al-Sheikh summit. Therefore, it calls on Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to lift the blockade immediately and also calls on the Palestinian Authorities to ensure that publics service workers and humanitarian agencies can distribute urgently needed materials.

category international | peace process | news report

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