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Gazans under fire, under nourished

A UNRWA aid worker in a warehouse.
(Shabtai Gold/IRIN)

The World Food Programme continued to report an acute shortage of food in the Gaza Strip on 9 January, including fish, frozen meat, fruit and vegetables, bread and milk. Residents also said they could not find eggs. 



Read more Gaza reports



Gazans said farmers were afraid to go to their fields to collect produce, while the Israeli military’s ground troops, which were still present in Gaza, were dividing the enclave into sections and preventing transport between different areas. This was making it even harder to get fresh goods from agricultural areas to the urban centres.



Two Gaza City residents told IRIN they were largely surviving on small quantities of food, mainly canned beans and other dry food.



Getting the full picture of the humanitarian situation in Gaza remained difficult, as for the 15th day Israel prevented journalists from entering the enclave.



Some Palestinians in the enclave said they were unhappy with a UN decision, announced on 8 January, to stop all staff movement, which was expected to largely affect food distribution.



Cash shortage










Sami Gheit, a 62-year-old farmer, said he lost 50 dunams (five hectares) of his land to a "buffer zone" created by the Israeli military between his home and the nearby settlement of Qiryat Arba.

Shabtai Gold/IRIN
Sami Gheit, a 62-year-old farmer, said he lost 50 dunams (five hectares) of his land to a "buffer zone" created by the Israeli military between his home and the nearby settlement of Qiryat Arba...
http://www.irinnews.org/photo
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Access to buffer zone key to agricultural recovery - FAO
Sami Gheit, a 62-year-old farmer, said he lost 50 dunams (five hectares) of his land to a "buffer zone" created by the Israeli military between his home and the nearby settlement of Qiryat Arba...


Photo: Shabtai Gold/IRIN
Gazan farmers said were afraid to go to their fields to collect produce (file photo)



Some 80 percent of Gaza residents live below the poverty line of US$2 a day. Those residents said they needed aid now more than ever.



Another issue was a severe cash shortage in Gaza, limiting people’s ability to purchase goods, even for those who had some money. Israel has blocked transfers of cash from the West Bank to the enclave. The International Monetary Fund said that Gaza needs the cash transfers to function.



The two-week Israeli offensive has killed over 800 Palestinians and injured more than 3,300, according to the Gaza ministry of health. The UN said at least 42 percent of those killed were women and children, and reported a 250 percent increase in children’s deaths since Israel began its ground operation on 3 January.



Israeli officials have said that there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip but say the blame for problems in the enclave should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Hamas.



UN deaths



The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN’s largest aid agency for Palestinians refugees, said it will resume full operations in the Gaza Strip "as soon as possible" after receiving assurances from the Israeli military on 9 January that the safety of their staff and institutions would be respected.



Three UN local employees have been killed since Israel launched its campaign against Gaza on 27 December. UN institutions have also been hit, including UNRWA schools where residents of the enclave were seeking refuge from the fighting, killing a few dozen people.



“The UN received credible assurances that the security of UN personnel, installations and humanitarian operations would be fully respected, including undertakings of improved liaison and more effective internal coordination with the military,” Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator, and Karen Abuzayd, head of UNRWA, said in a joint statement.



UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness said that his agency would “closely monitor” the Israeli commitment to these assurances, as the safety of staff remained of paramount concern.



No safe place in Gaza










Many children have been killed or injured in Israel's military offensive in Gaza

The hospitals are overwhelmed with casualties since the latest fighting began on 27 December
Life
Many children have been killed or injured in Israel's military offensive in Gaza...
http://www.lifeusa.org/
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Threat of epidemics in Gaza
Many children have been killed or injured in Israel's military offensive in Gaza...


Photo: Life
More than 3,300 Palestinians have been injured in Israel's military assault, according to the Gaza ministry of health



Meanwhile, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that it obtained eye-witness testimony, showing that earlier in the week the Israeli military had forced 110 Palestinians, half of them children, into a small residential home in the Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza, and ordered them to stay indoors. The next morning, soldiers shelled the home, killing more than 30 people.



UN officials said, the bottom line is there is no safe place in Gaza.



Survivors’ testimonies described scenes of carnage, with the dead buried under the same rubble as the wounded for several days.



The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on 8 January that Israel had violated international humanitarian law by not helping the wounded in the Zeitoun area and not letting ICRC or Palestine Red Crescent medics reach them.



In a small improvement, some residents have reported that power returned for a few hours in certain areas after Israel let in some fuel supplies. However, water and electricity remained limited throughout the enclave and Gaza’s sole power plant was still damaged.



shg/ar/ed

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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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