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UN official urges free flow of border crossings into Gaza for relief  materials PDF Print E-mail
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UNITED NATIONS, Jan 30 (APP): Stressing the uninterrupted opening of border crossings into the Gaza Strip, a UN official has said that meeting the immediate needs of Palestinians left traumatized and homeless by Israe’s three-week military offensive required the free flow of not just emergency food, but fuel, medicines and necessary building supplies.

“From a logistic point of view... we are doing our best,” World Food Programme Regional Director for the Middle East Daly Belgasmi told a news briefing in New York on Thursday, stressing the need for a full opening of the crossing points, which Israel again briefly closed on Tuesday following a border bomb attack.

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“The crossing points are still an issue because it’s open today,it’s closed tomorrow, it’s open in the morning, it’s closed in the afternoon, and that has been a real challenge,” he said. “The food supply chain has collapsed.

Many basic food items are no longer available in the market, [there are] increases in the price of food commodities such as cooking gas and fuel, bakeries have only recently started.”

WFP’s portion of the appeal is $82.3 million which Belgasmi described as “really the minimum to be able to provide some assistance to the people in need.” He said his agency had enough stocks in Gaza for the next three weeks, and was providing school meals of milk, date bars and bread to 50,000 children to encourage attendance and improve their nutrition.

“The challenge is to get jobs. When you have today unemployment of 70 per cent, people should work on construction,” We need to get them items for construction, we need to get the hospitals working, we need to get the schools coming back to a normal educational life,” he added.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates that as many as half of the 5,000 men, women and children injured over the past three weeks may suffer life-long impairment because rehabilitation workers were unable to respond immediately.




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