Oxfam today warned that prolonged closure of crossings into Gaza could cut Palestinians from essential goods such as fuel and food and threatens to further deteriorate what is already a dire humanitarian situation.
Oxfam’s Country Director for the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel Chris Eijkemans said Israel’s 10-year blockade of Gaza had caused infrastructure and services to collapse, provoking a humanitarian crisis for nearly two million people, mostly refugees, who had been effectively trapped inside.
He said about 40 per cent of Gaza’s population struggled to get enough to eat.
Unemployment was over 40 per cent, and more than 23,500 had been displaced from their homes due to the aftermath of the last war in 2014.
“The vital Karem Shalom crossing, one of the only entry points for goods in and out of Gaza, was damaged three days ago and is now closed, or opening for limited goods,” Mr Eijkemans said.
“If this continues, this could spark a further fuel shortage that would hit agricultural irrigation. Oxfam is working to rehabilitate a number of irrigation wells in Gaza but we don’t have a Plan B at this stage. The knock-on inflation on food prices would hit poor families hard and quickly.”
Any sudden fuel shortage would also hit Gaza’s vital desalination plants, which 90 per cent of the people of Gaza depend on.
“Oxfam condemns the killings of at least 58 demonstrators in Gaza,” he said.
“The international community must take strong and urgent action to end the violence and ensure restraint from all sides.
“The killings should be investigated – independently and immediately – for any breach of international law and those found guilty brought to justice.”
Oxfam is currently helping 258,000 people in Gaza, providing food and vital water and sanitation.
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