JERUSALEM, Thursday, May 27, 2021 (WAFA) - The Humanitarian Coordinator of the occupied Palestinian territory, Lynn Hastings, launched an emergency plan to support people affected by the latest escalation and violence in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Along with UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, Hastings called on all Member States to contribute generously towards the $95 million plan, to allow for a swift and full implementation over the next three months, according to a press statement by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory.
During a visit to Gaza, immediately after the ceasefire, Hastings met Palestinians who had lost their homes and livelihoods as a result of the conflict. She saw damage to civilian infrastructure which had left 800,000 people without regular access to piped water.
Damage to wastewater infrastructure resulted in large volumes of untreated sewage water being discharged into the sea, creating health hazards and pollution. Damage to 54 education facilities undermines children's access to education, and damage to six hospitals and 11 primary health-care centres hinders the delivery of health services, said the statement.
Limited fuel and damage to the electricity network have reduced access to electricity to a daily average of 4-6 hours throughout Gaza, further limiting the provision of these basic services. This comes as health systems are already overburdened by COVID-19.
Hastings announced earlier this week that she has allocated $18 million from the oPt Humanitarian Fund. With this funding, in addition to $4.5 million released by the Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock, the United Nations and NGO partners are already restoring people's access to food, water, healthcare, and other basic services. However, more funding is needed from Member States to ensure humanitarian needs are met, it said.
"In recent weeks, the world watched as civilians endured yet another cycle of devastating violence and destruction," said Guterres. "Children and adults were killed, thousands were injured. Families have had their lives torn apart. It is our duty now to scale up support to those who need it the most. We must not fail them."
"We are working hard to make sure that the ceasefire holds and that no party re-escalates the conflict in the way we have seen this month," Guterres added. "Ultimately, we need a promising political horizon aimed at ending decades of military occupation, political deadlock, grievances, and hopelessness."
"Humanitarian assistance has been a lifeline for many Palestinians, over many years," Lowcock added. "We are determined to continue to stand by them. To do this, we need funding and access. I call on the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to fulfill their obligation to ensure unimpeded access for humanitarian personnel and goods."