Food and energy situation in Gaza still ‘very difficult’: UN agency


United Nations : Food, energy and other basics of life in the Gaza Strip, where severe restrictions by Israel on the movement of people and goods have been in effect since Hamas’ takeover in June 2007, continue to be in short supply, A UN reported Friday.

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According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), only 2,400 trucks entered the coastal enclave last month, down from more than 10,000 trucks that entered in March 2007.

The agency added that a scarcity of animal feed is causing meat prices to skyrocket and it has had to expand its school feeding programme to meet the needs of some 110,000 Gazan children in around 110 schools everyday.

In addition, UNRWA said that it has been providing more than 110,000 litres of diesel fuel to municipalities each month for solid waste management but that a lack of electricity often forces coastal municipalities to dump their sewage into the sea.

UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have repeatedly expressed concern in recent months about the humanitarian impact of the restrictions on daily life for Palestinians in Gaza, coming on top of years of difficulty and economic decline.

Describing the consequences as increasingly severe, the officials have said that the closures have brought most industry and agriculture to collapse, raised unemployment and poverty to new heights and led to the deterioration of basic infrastructure.