A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Blockade must end now says international agency Oxfam
Martin Hartberg, Oxfam Policy Officer in Jerusalem said:
“This ceasefire must hold. The violence over the last few weeks has been devastating for people in Gaza and Israel. Hundreds of lives have been lost and houses, schools and kindergartens lay in ruins. People need some chance of living normal lives again. Schools in Gaza and southern Israel have been closed for over a week and ordinary ways of earning a living in Gaza - such as fishing and farming – have been far too dangerous to attempt.
"But we need more than a ceasefire. We cannot return to business as usual. For five years, Gaza has been subject to a crippling blockade, which has restricted what it can import and export and destroyed its economy. Since the blockade started, a third of Gaza’s businesses have closed and 80 percent of its population now needs aid to get by.
"The blockade has also meant that the UN and aid agencies have struggled to re-build homes and water networks destroyed in Cast Lead because of restrictions on importing cement. This means that at times sewage has flooded Gaza’s streets.
"The international community needs to be courageous. Only by lifting the blockade, do we have any chance of ending the incessant cycle of violence that has devastated millions of lives. The international community's two-state solution will be impossible to achieve while the blockade continues and Palestinians remain divided between Gaza and the West Bank."
Notes to Editors
Oxfam Media Advisory on Gaza/Israel Crisis (pdf, 21 Nov 2012) - more detail on our work with partners in Gaza and Israel who are available for interviews/visits.
For media inquiries please contact: Willow Heske, Oxfam Media Lead for OPTI in Jerusalem at email@example.com or + 972 (0)597133646 or Martin Hartberg, Policy Officer in Jerusalem at firstname.lastname@example.org or + 972 (0)545284562 or Karl Schembri, Communications Officer in Gaza at +972 (0)598910981