As UN aid efforts in Gaza return to earlier strength, West Bank warehouse is attacked

18 June 2007

The United Nations agency tasked with helping Palestinian refugees says its operations in the Gaza Strip have returned to their levels before the recent outbreak of deadly fighting, but a warehouse on the West Bank housing stocks of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) was ransacked at the weekend.

The United Nations agency tasked with helping Palestinian refugees says its operations in the Gaza Strip have returned to their levels before the recent outbreak of deadly fighting, but a warehouse on the West Bank housing stocks of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) was ransacked at the weekend.

The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) had temporarily suspended all but its emergency health and food programmes in Gaza last week after the killing of two of its workers.

But its wider operations have resumed again and returned to pre-fighting levels, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York today.

At a meeting of UNRWA’s Advisory Commission in Jordan, the agency’s Commissioner-General Karen Koning AbuZayd said the security situation inside Gaza was improving, but there were still threats to staff who work in the field there.

As sporadic violence between members of the Fatah and Hamas movements continued over the weekend in the occupied Palestinian territory, a warehouse in the West Bank city of Nablus was attacked by armed men on Saturday.

The warehouse, containing several tons of food as well as office equipment such as computers and fax machines, was looted by the gunmen, WFP said in a statement. The food had been earmarked for chronically poor Palestinian families.

WFP called on all parties in the occupied Palestinian territory “to respect the independence and neutrality of humanitarian workers and installations and calls on parties concerned to return the stolen goods and equipment immediately,” adding that it could only continue its operations so long as the safety of its goods and staff is assured.

The agency estimates that it currently helps about 665,000 people in the West Bank and Gaza.

 

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