- April 23, 2008
UNRWA: We’ll halt relief operations in Gaza as of Thursday
The UNRWA announced that it may be forced to halt all its relief operations in the Gaza Strip as of Thursday because of lack of fuel supplies necessary to operate its trucks and centers deployed all over the Strip, appealing to the international community to intervene urgently to save the dignity and humanity of the Gaza people.
In a press conference, John Ging, the UNRWA”s director of operations in Gaza, stated Wednesday that the magnitude of death, destruction and despair in the Strip is considerable and disgraceful, noting that more than 53 Palestinian children had been killed and 177 others had been wounded since last January.
Ging explained that the fuel depletion would lead to a halt to the distribution of relief supplies provided by UNRWA and the world food program (WFP) for more than a million Palestinians in Gaza, pointing out that the mills and fishing boats will also stop working, and farmers became unable to work their lands because there is no fuel to operate water pumps for irrigation.
The UNRWA director also warned that doctors and patients are forced to walk on foot to reach hospitals, 20 percent of ambulances stopped completely and another 60 percent are going to stop at the end of this week, adding that the central clinic ran out of its fuel supplies used for reserving medicines and fuel supplies of hospitals, which provide medical services for 12,000 patients, reached less than 25 percent.
Continuing to disclose the humanitarian catastrophe in all aspects of Gaza”s life, the director said that waste and garbage accumulated in Gaza streets after 50 percent of municipalities stopped to collect them.
He added that the education process became dependent on the ability of students and teachers to reach schools on foot.
In the same context, Robert Serry, the representative of UN in Palestine, called on all parties to cooperate with the Egyptian efforts to lift the siege, underscoring that the policy of collective punishment carried out by Israel against the citizens in Gaza is wrong.
In a related context, a large number of students and children with special needs participated Tuesday in a picket in front of the UNRWA”s headquarters organized by the Islamic bloc in cooperation with the Education ministry in Gaza to protest against the Israeli siege which led to the disruption of the education process in Gaza.
In a press release to the Quds press, Dr. Kamal Al-Hilbawi, a prominent figure of the Egyptian Muslim brotherhood, called on the Egyptian government to listen to reason and answer the appeal of the Palestine scholars association for opening the Rafah crossing in order to save the Palestinian people in Gaza who defend the national security of Egypt and all Arab countries against the Israeli expansionism.
“It is truly shameful that Egypt refrains from dealing with the Palestinian people while it gives the Israelis everything they want,” Dr. Hibawi said.