Gaza crisis: Crisis critical with supplies of food and fuel perilously low

“There must be a robust response from the international community to achieve an immediate and permanent ceasefire.”
Nicole Widdersheim
Head of Oxfam International’s New York Advocacy Office
Published: 31 December 2008

Agency said UNSC must pass binding resolution demanding an immediate halt to violence.

 


 
Oxfam International said today that the crisis in Gaza was now critical; besides the fighting, the dwindling supply of food and fuel was becoming the key humanitarian concern. The agency added that though a 48 hour pause in the fighting to allow humanitarian aid through would have been inadequate to meet the needs of those besieged, it was deeply disappointed that this humanitarian gesture has been rejected. It added that an immediate cease-fire was imperative.



“There must be a robust response from the international community to achieve an immediate and permanent ceasefire. After five days of violence it is time for the Security Council to urgently to pass a binding resolution demanding an immediate halt to violence in Gaza and Israel by all parties and an end to the blockade,” said Nicole Widdersheim, Head of Oxfam International’s New York Advocacy Office.



“It's unacceptable for collective and decisive action to be delayed because of the holiday period.  It will be no happy new year for thousands of civilians affected by this crisis that are left without food, electricity or running water. The humanitarian situation is unbearable for Gaza's 1.5 million people, of which half are children, and supplies are needed urgently. Only an immediate ceasefire would give aid agencies the chance to bring some relief to them," said Widdersheim. “The UN Security Council should also dispatch a high level envoy mandated to speak to all parties to broker an immediate halt to all violence".



On the current humanitarian situation, John Prideaux-Brune Oxfam’s Country Director in Jerusalem said:


 
“We have had to suspend an aid program helping at least 65,000 people. Our aid workers in Gaza are besieged, restricted to their homes and in fear of their and their families’ lives. Nine months ago aid agencies warned the crisis in Gaza was the worst it has ever been since the 1967 ‘six-day war.’ Months of a tightening blockade and the latest disproportionate attacks make it much worse.


 
“Food and fuel are in perilously short supply. Eighty percent of the people in Gaza were reliant on food aid. Some food aid is still available in Gaza but the bombing has stopped aid agencies distributing food and when there is food available in the market the prices have escalated three-fold. The crisis is becoming dire for the most vulnerable.

“A 48 hour pause in the fighting to allow humanitarian essentials to the people would have given a minimum respite and we are deeply disappointed even this small humanitarian gesture has been rejected."

Oxfam welcomed the recent diplomatic pressure on Israel and Hamas to end the fighting and is calling on the European Union to send High Representative Javier Solana to go to the region to help broker a peace deal.