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Gaza's border crossings with Israel completely closed today - UN

1 February 2008 – No trucks carrying relief supplies were able to enter the Gaza Strip from Israel today as all the border crossings remained closed, the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process (UNSCO) reported.

Today’s closures mean UN agencies’ stocks of essential goods in Gaza continue to dwindle, several weeks after Israeli authorities imposed tight restrictions on entry to and exit from the area where an estimated 1.4 million Palestinians live.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza, where the power supply remains out for most of the day, is being exacerbated by the current spell of unusually cold weather, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The agency has managed to provide about 112,500 litres of fuel to Gazan officials dealing with waste management, but this is short of the amount needed, resulting in garbage piling up along the streets.

Gaza’s schools are scheduled to re-open tomorrow after the winter break, but they will probably have no heating or electricity, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported. UNRWA-run schools will also have no books as Israel has not allowed the agency to take paper into Gaza.

UNRWA has so far received only 1 per cent of the $237 million it sought in urgent humanitarian aid last December when it launched its consolidated appeal for the occupied Palestinian territory.



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