JERUSALEM, Friday, July 09, 2021 (WAFA) – Lynn Hastings, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said yesterday that without a return to regular entry of goods into Gaza, the capacity of the UN and its partners to deliver critical interventions is at risk, as are the livelihoods of and basic services for the people in Gaza.
“Unfortunately, since the beginning of the escalation on May 10, entry of goods through Kerem Shalom crossing has been limited to food, medical supplies, fuel, fodder, a few agricultural inputs, and other narrowly-defined items,” said Hastings.
The UN currently estimates that 250,000 people in Gaza are still without regular access to piped water, and that 185,000 are relying on unsafe water sources or paying higher prices for bottled water. The critical agricultural sector, a main source of food and income in Gaza is at risk, including the current planting season.
“Meeting humanitarian needs, including the resumption of basic water, health and sanitation services, and the reconstruction of Gaza cannot progress without the entry of a broad range of supplies, including equipment, and construction materials necessary to support those repairs and humanitarian activities,” the UN official added.
She pointed out that the cessation of the regular entry of commercial goods is impacting the work of hundreds of Gaza private sector businesses and the income of thousands of workers.
“Exports from Gaza, which are critical to livelihoods, are virtually halted. Obstacles facing the private sector need to be removed if it is to recover and resume its role as the main driver of growth and employment,” Hastings continued.
She added, “National staff are essential to humanitarian operations; the UN and our INGO partners need to revert to normal operations whereby staff can enter and exit on a regular and predictable basis.”
Hastings urged Israel to fulfil its obligations under international humanitarian law, saying that “humanitarian assistance is not conditional”.
“I urge Israel to ease the restrictions on the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza, in line with UN Security Council resolution 1860 (2009), with the goal of ultimately lifting them. Only by fully lifting the debilitating closures can we hope to sustainably resolve the humanitarian crisis and contribute to longer term stability.”