Top UN official calls for more efforts to rebuild Gaza
A top UN official on Wednesday called upon Israel to allow emergency supplies and reconstruction materials into Gaza in order to facilitate the efforts to rebuild the Palestinian territory, Xinhua reported.
Addressing the UN Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, said that "the United Nations reiterates its call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law and open the crossings for emergency supplies and reconstruction materials, without which there will be no way to rebuild Gaza."
"The intolerable situation at Gaza's crossings remains the key impediment to bringing help -- and hope -- to the people of Gaza," he said.
From Feb. 15 to March 21, a total of 3,633 truckloads, a weekly average of 727, entered Gaza through the various crossing points from Israel along with Rafah, he said.
"Roughly 85 percent of all imports consisted of foodstuffs and medical supplies, whereas construction materials, spare parts and other industrial goods remain almost totally banned," he said.
"While there has been an increase in the amount of goods getting into Gaza, and the Israeli cabinet announced on March 22 that foodstuffs from relevant sources would be allowed into Gaza without restriction, the quality and quantity of imports are insufficient compared to needs," he said.
The quantity of industrial fuel and cooking gas is also insufficient, as only 70 percent and 25 percent, respectively, of the weekly needs entered Gaza, he said. "A total ban remains in place on the import of petrol and diesel, except for small quantities delivered to UNRWA," which stands for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.
UNRWA is a relief and human development agency, providing education, health care, social services and emergency aid to over 400,000 Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, as well as in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.