News
»  Emirates
»  Arab World
»  International
»  Sports
»  Business
»  Special Reports
»  Archives
Bookmark and Share
You are here: Home > International
Text size
Thousands of Gazans remain homeless as UN again calls for aid access
2009-01-27 10:11:59
WAM New York, 27th Jan. 2009 (WAM) -- Thousands of Gazans remain homeless and hospitals still have a large number of intensive care patients over a week after a ceasefire ended Israel's devastating three-week offensive, according to the latest United Nations update, which calls for immediate unhindered humanitarian access to the Strip's 1.5 million inhabitants.

"At this stage, the initial response is focusing on the re-establishment of basic services to the population of Gaza, including water, health, food, cash assistance, education and psychosocial support," the UN Office the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said yesterday. This includes safety of movement by marking and clearing unexploded ordnance, removing rubble, repairing priority infrastructure, and securing access to services.

Although fewer than 500 displaced people remain in three UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) emergency shelters, most displaced Gazans are staying with host families who are overstretched and face shortages of food, non-food items such as mattresses and blankets, and water and electricity.

Hospitals are gradually finding capacity for routine care for chronically ill patients who are now returning for treatment. Repair of medical equipment, already a priority before the conflict when Israel's closure of crossing points hindered import of necessary spare parts, remains a priority, as does the import of spare parts.

Some people still have no access to piped water and the sewerage network in parts of Gaza is still damaged. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) has warned that continued shortage of drinking water and overflowing sewage in some residential areas poses serious health risks, and immediate assistance is needed to rebuild the infrastructure, including pipes, generators and pumps. Spare parts and other equipment are also needed for the electricity sector.

All 10 UNRWA distribution centres are open, feeding 25,000 people per day, and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed 95 tonnes of food aid to 993 families (nearly 6,000 people) in Gaza City and North Gaza. All schools opened on Saturday, with an 80 per cent attendance rate in government schools and 89 per cent at UNRWA schools, and there is a focus on psychosocial and mental health support for students, with UNRWA fielding 185 counsellors.

OCHA cited Gaza's most critical needs as spare parts and fuel for the power plant, hospitals and water and sewage treatment facilities, and cement, sand and other construction materials to rebuild the destroyed schools, hospitals, clinics and homes.

It added that it was critical that full and unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza be granted immediately by all parties to the conflict. International agencies have faced unprecedented denial of access to Gaza since 5 November, it said. Although a small group was allowed in on 23 January, humanitarian access remains unreliable and needs to be granted every day without restriction.

WAM/TF
Bookmark and Share
Market Watch
»  Abu Dhabi
»  Dubai
»  UAE Stock Market
»  NBAD Exchange Rate
Photos
more...
Videos
more...
Surveys
Wam AnyWhere
Get the news at your fingertips..
Weather         For more details click here
City Temperature Humidity
Abu Dhabi 34 23 85 25
Dubai 33 24 80 30
Sharjah 34 23 85 30
Ras Al Khaimah 36 24 90 25
Umm Al Qaiwain 37 23 90 40
Ajman 36 24 85 35
Al Fujairah 37 29 75 20
Al Ain 38 25 70 20
Abu Musa 34 24 85 30
Tunb Kubra / Sughra 35 25 85 30
Delma 35 24 85 30
Ruwais 33 23 85 25
Liwa 37 24 85 20
As-Sila 36 25 80 25