Joint statement on humanitarian situation in Palestinian territory

Palestinians traveling on roads destroyed in Israeli air strikes in the Southern Gaza strip July 14, 2006. (MaanImages/Hatem Omar)

Geneva - The governments of Norway, Spain and Sweden, together with United Nations (UN) Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, today called on the donor community to assist the United Nations and its partners in their efforts to meet the most urgent needs of the Palestinian population and respond promptly and generously to the revised Emergency Appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) 2006.

Norway, Spain and Sweden convened today’s meeting in Geneva to encourage the international donor community to increase it response to the deterioration humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territory. Since its original launch, developments in the Palestinian territory have prompted the expansion of the Appeal from an initial USD 215 million to USD 385 million. Approximately 31 percent of the revised amount is covered to date.

Since the Hamas victory in the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January, funding from a number of western donors has been suspended, pending the new Palestinian Authority (PA) acceding to Quartet principles related to non-violence, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements. Heavy damage to the Palestinian civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, including the destruction of the Gaza power station on 28 June, has greatly reduced the supply of electricity and water to Gazan households. Humanitarian organisations are concerned of potential outbreaks of communicable diseases in Gaza, one of the most densely-populated areas in the world. Access for Gazans, commercial goods and humanitarian organisations and supplies, including food aid, into Gaza has been restricted with the frequent closings of key crossing points. The violence and its ensuing high casualty-rates in the last two weeks have had a dramatic psycho-social impact especially on Gaza’s children - almost half the population - who are living in a heightened environment of fear and insecurity. On a positive note, diesel, petrol and cooking gas continue to flow into Gaza, providing some immediate relief for the population, which now relies heavily on generators for the supply of electrical power.

Until such time as a political solution is found, the revised Emergency Appeal 2006 remains one of a small number of avenues through which desperately needed humanitarian assistance can be provided to the people living in the Palestinian territory.

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