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UN seeks lifting of blockade.

Abu Dhabi: A United Nations official said humanitarian efforts in Gaza had to first concentrate on getting Israel to lift the blockade before effective relief could be channelled to the conflict-hit area.

"Humanitarian organisations can't speak properly about Gaza recovery unless the blockade is lifted," said Peter Ford, who is the representative of the Commissioner-General for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

Necessary step

Ford told Gulf News - after a donor's meeting held on Monday and focusing on Gaza - that "lifting the blockade is what we need to see before we have a recovery."

The UN was asking for the lifting of the blockade long before the Israeli attacks on Gaza started last December.

He said that they were aware that a large sum of money had been collected in the UAE on behalf of residents of Gaza but stressed that the agenda of Monday's meeting was to explain to potential donors what UNRWA required and outline their future plans for the Gaza Strip.

Ford also said the holding of the conference piled the pressure on Israel to stop its war.

"The Arab world is mobilising to put more pressure on Israel and mobilising to put across its own anger and its own contributions to repairing Gaza and repairing the situation which created the crisis," Ford said.

He was confident that the blockade would be lifted.

Shocking: Gaza crisis numbers

50,000 non-refugee Palestinians in Gaza are in dire need of food assistance as a result of the current crisis.

AaThe WFP (World Food Programme) does not have enough food stocks to cover its regular food distributions to 720,000 non-refugee Palestinians in the West bank and Gaza who are benefiting from the assistance under the Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (2009 PRRO)

WFP is appealing for $75 million (Dh275.2 million) to cover the needs of 720,000 Palestinians in Gaza and the West bank, as follows:

$9 million for the additional 50,000 non-refugee Palestinians who have emerged due to the current crisis.

$66 million for 665,000 non-refugees and food insecure Palestinians in 2009 (part of WFP's ongoing program)

$305,000 for co-ordinating inter-agency logistics operation for the delivery of much needed supplies to the Gaza strip.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 14, 2009
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