UN: humanitarian situation deteriorating amid Gaza blockade
A Palestinian woman cooks her food on fire wood in Biet Hanun northern Gaza Strip, on November 19, 2013, due to the shortage in butane gas across the Hamas run Palestinian territory. [AFP]
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UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory James Rawley said on Thursday, “After 12 months the initial hopes for a significant improvement on the ground have not been realized.”
The UN official made the remarks as he visited Gaza to mark the first anniversary of the Israeli war on the besieged sliver.
More than 160 Palestinians died and some 1,200 others were injured in the Israeli war on November 14-21, 2012.
“In fact I am sorry to report that situations for Gaza’s 1.7 million people is worse than it was before the hostilities a year ago,” Rawley stated, warning against the fuel and energy crisis in the coastal enclave.
Robert Turner, the director of operations in Gaza at UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has criticized the Egyptian military for its crackdown on the underground tunnels near the border with Gaza.
“The closures of the tunnels has led to a near total collapse of private sector constructions,” Turner said.
In recent months, fuel and electricity shortages in Gaza have worsened as the Egyptian military has blocked supply tunnels leading into the region. The underground tunnels serve as a lifeline for the Gazans.
The international aid agency Oxfam says the people residing in Gaza are still “trapped under the Israeli blockade and largely cut off from the outside world” since the end of last year's war.
Gaza has been under the Israeli siege since 2007.
The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO), which represents more than 130 Palestinian civil society organizations, has called on the international community to end the continuous Israeli siege.
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