“Urgent need for aid
The suffering continues in the ”children’s prison” in Gaza where the population are dependent on aid to survive. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) urges Norway and the international community to take action and seek new means to get supplies into the barred area.
One year and four months after the three week long war in Gaza, the citizens have not been provided with the assistance they need. Why? Because Israel and Egypt do not allow aid into the Palestinian area. Neither by truck, boat nor air transport.
The only possibility for the population in Gaza is to use underground tunnels. These tunnels costed more than one hundred lives last year. And this week four people were killed when part of one tunnel collapsed. UN and several humanitarian organizations therefore avoid using the tunnels to transport cement and other heavy and large supplies. However, as most people in Gaza, they have to use the petrol, drinking water and other materials brought through the tunnels, in order to continue some of the relief work.
There are more than 1.5 million citizens in Gaza, without any possibilities of getting out because of the closed borders. More than one millon of those are dependent on food supplies from outside to survive. The lack of agricultural land and fishing possibilities makes it difficult to be self-sufficient regarding food. Fishermen who fish outside the limit, three nautical miles from the shore, get shot at from Israeli naval vessels.
– The human suffering in Gaza is man-made and totally meaningless. It is entirely unacceptable of Israel and Egypt to deny aid to the ”children’s prison” in Gaza. Norway must put pressure on these countries and through USA and UN demand that aid can be transported on roads and by sea, says secretary general Elisabeth Rasmusson.
The population in Gaza is very young, 60 percent of the population of 1.5 million are bellow the age of 18. 52,000 children are born in Gaza every year. They are born into an environment characterised by immediate need for food, drinking water, health service, electricity, petrol and so forth. NRC is ready to rebuild damaged houses, but is in lack of materials because of the blockade.
– UN and humanitarian organizations have not been able to rebuild one single house of the 3400 houses which were totally destroyed during the Gaza war, because it is impossible to get materials into the area, says Rasmusson.
Zinat Al-Samoni (36), a widow and mother of seven, was one of the many survivors getting their lives ruined by the war
– My husband was shot in the head, and my son was shot in the chest when the Israeli troops came through our door. Afterwards, they demolished our house. We have nothing left, says Zinat.
Now she is a single mother for her seven children in the age between one and twelve years. Some bits of steal are the only thing that remains where their house used to be. All the bricks have been taken by kids and sold to others who are desperate to get roofs over their heads.
NRC assists Zinat and 1300 other persons in Gaza to obtain the necessary documents to get help to rebuild their homes. A lot of houses, with only small damages, have been repaired. While the blockade makes it impossible to rebuild the completely destroyed homes of Zinat and many others in Gaza.
– But the blockade can’t prevent us from giving free legal aid, says Rasmusson.”