• February 2, 2008

UN: Human conditions in Gaza worsening

UN: Human conditions in Gaza worsening

The office of the special UN coordinator for the peace process in the Middle East said that the Israeli continued closure of all crossings to Gaza blocked the entry of badly needed humanitarian relief material.

For her part, Marie Okabe, the deputy UN spokesperson, on Friday said that an UNRWA report indicated that the inhabitants of Gaza were facing a very cold weather condition with no power supplies available most of the day.

She said that UNICEF also reported that schools would open on Saturday with no electricity or heating.

Israeli delays mean no Gaza schoolbooks

Children in Gaza will start the second half of their school year on Saturday without textbooks because Israeli authorities delayed authorizing imports of paper to print them on, a UN official said.

“It will take 45 days and four printing presses working full-time to get those books ready,” Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, told international media.

Gunness said 200,000 children in grades one to nine would be affected until the 42 different titles are ready.

He said UNRWA had applied in November for Israeli authorization to import 754 tons of paper but only received it on Thursday evening.

Israel has imposed severe restrictions on the shipment of goods into Gaza since Hamas seized control of the impoverished coastal Strip in June last year.