Sunday, February 01, 2009

UN appeals for 613 million dollars to help Palestinians in Gaza


NEW YORK, (PIC)-- The UN launched an appeal on Thursday for 613 million dollars to help the Palestinian people affected by Israel's three-week military aggression on the Gaza Strip, which killed more than 1,300 citizens and injured about 5,300, one third of them children, and caused widespread destruction.

These funds will cover the requirements of the UN and other aid agencies for the next six to nine months and cover critical needs such as food, water, sanitation, health care, shelter and education.

The funds will also help to remove the debris of war, including unexploded ordnance, finance emergency repairs for basic infrastructure, and provide psychological help for the victims. Another appeal for long-term needs will be launched later.

“With the help of this 613 million dollars appeal, the UN and other aid agencies can jump into action to help the 1.4 million civilians in the Gaza Strip to recover,” UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon told a news conference in Davos, warning that without urgent action, Gaza could face a greater humanitarian tragedy.

“People have lost their families. They have lost their homes, belongings and livelihoods. Schools, clinics, factories and businesses have been destroyed. Many of Gaza’s inhabitants still lack clean water and electricity. Too many are living in the midst of raw sewage and the threats to their health that brings," Ki-moon explained.

The Palestinian government headed by premier Ismail Haneyya continues its efforts to provide urgent relief assistance to the citizens whose homes were destroyed by Israel in order to ensure a decent life for them, pending the reconstruction of their homes.

The government delegated the relevant ministries to rapidly recover work in farms and factories which are apt to operate and formed a committee of several ministers to be in contact with the UNRWA to ensure the delivery of relief aid to the rightful citizens.

In a statement issued Friday, the government criticized Israel for not releasing food supplies since the beginning of the war on Gaza at the Auja crossing, considering it an attempt to politically pressure the citizens and the government.

The government called for urgently convening an international meeting intended for the reconstruction of Gaza, noting that it does not put any obstacles in the way of the immediate commencement of reconstruction, but it refuses any political conditions on such assistance.

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