News / Middle East

UN: Gaza in State of Physical, Psychological Collapse

Multimedia

Audio

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency says Gaza is in a state of physical and psychological collapse.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza has been going on for 30 months.  The U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which cares for one million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, says the territory is receiving only 20 percent of the goods it got before the blockade was imposed.  

UNRWA says the ongoing blockade of Gaza's borders has caused the private sector to collapse and unemployment and poverty to rise to unprecedented levels.  

The agency is renewing its appeal for $323 million to assist Palestinian refugees in Gaza and the West Bank throughout 2010.  UNRWA Director of Operations in Gaza, John Ging, says $250 million of the appeal will be used to sustain basic subsistence levels in Gaza.

"Access to those billions that have been pledged, $4.5 billion were pledged in Sharm El-Sheik, will replace the need for much of the aid, the humanitarian assistance we now are appealing for because the recovery and reconstruction will generate tens of thousands of jobs," said Ging.  "It will put the private sector back to work.  Remember 100,000 have been made unemployed in this past two and a half years.  And, the money will be, as I say, put to productive use," he said.

The United Nations reports the houses of 325,000 people were destroyed or damaged during the war that erupted between Israel and Hamas militants more than a year ago.  An estimated 20,000 people continue to live in temporary housing.

Ging says Israel refuses to let cement, steel rods and other reconstruction material enter the Gaza Strip because it fears they would be used by Hamas to build bunkers.

He says the United Nations has presented a plan to the Israeli authorities to oversee the recovery and reconstruction of Gaza.  He says U.N. agencies have the technical expertise and the capacity to get the work done and to make sure that none of the materials fall into the wrong hands.  

"There is no point in just continuously saying hypothetically this might happen or that might happen or it might fall into the wrong hands or whatever.  The bottom line is we have put forward our plans.  We are ready to go," he declared.  "Let us go on with it and the cement that comes to the United Nations to build a school, there will be a physical school at the end of this process or there will not.  If there is a physical school, then we have done out job properly.  If there is not, then we should be held accountable for that.  That is what we now need to do," he said.  

Ging says attitudes among the Palestinians will continue to harden and become more hostile if reconstruction cannot get underway.  He warns this will be counterproductive to Israel's objective of achieving stability and security.  

He appeals to the Israeli authorities to open the crossing points and allow essential supplies of food, water and medicines as well as shelter materials to flow freely into Gaza.  He says this will greatly improve conditions for the Palestinians and ease tensions between them and the Israelis.
 

You May Like

Sunni-Shi’ite Divide Threatens Middle East Stability

Analysts say ancient dispute that traces back to Islamic Revolution is fueling modern day unrest More

Shifting Demographics Lie Beneath Racial Tensions in Ferguson

As Missouri suburb morphed from majority white to majority black, observers say power structure remained static More

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Restriction is toughest since Soviet era, though critics reject move as patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid