Three crossings into Gaza Strip open today, UN reports

12 March 2008

Three crossings into 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, are open today, the United Nations reports.

Because of the openings, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has been able to import a refrigerator truck into Gaza for transporting vaccines, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

In addition, OCHA reports that 10 transformers have reached Gaza’s electricity supply company. Power cuts are down to around three hours a day, from highs over 12 hours a day during the winter, because of the warm weather.

That will lead to a reduction in the amount of sewage being pumped into the sea and will allow the health services to conserve fuel, OCHA adds.

UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have repeatedly expressed concern in recent weeks 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.


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Fuel shortages continue to hamper basic functions in Gaza – UN aid agency

The Gaza Strip continues to be plagued by fuel shortages, leaving many ambulances unable to function and ensuring most residents have only an intermittent water supply, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported today.