Some 60 British MPs and Peers have signed a letter to the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development Alistair Burt, urging him to take action to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
The letter spoke of the dire humanitarian situation in the besieged coastal enclave, pointing to the fact that despite the UN predicting in 2012 that Gaza would be unliveable by 2020, Save The Children have declared the Strip unliveable now.
The parliamentarians called for the UK government to “use all diplomatic means – including multilateral forums such as the UN Human Rights Council and bilateral relations with Israel and the Palestinian Authority – to pursue accountability for all violations of international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory and bring an end to the closure of Gaza.”
Following receipt of the letter yesterday, Minister Burt pledged to provide an extra £1.9 million ($2.5 million) to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Strip, which he said would help some one million people.
Gaza is currently facing an energy, water and healthcare crisis, such that residents are only receiving a maximum of two to four hours of electricity each day, making fresh water and sewage systems inoperable. An estimated 40 per cent of necessary medicines are also unavailable or will be depleted within a month, while patients requiring urgent treatment are prevented from leaving.
Last month, the Popular Committee Against the Siege on Gaza found that eight out of ten Gazans were living below the poverty line, with 44 per cent of the population unemployed.
Since the beginning of this month, the World Food Programme (WFP) has also put a stop to all food aid entering the Strip, affecting more than 35 humanitarian organisations, who protested at the suspension this week.
Egyptian authorities also backtracked on their promise to open the Rafah border to allow urgent medical aid into the Strip on Monday, after six soldiers were killed in the Sinai province.[Source: Middle East Monitor]