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Food enters Gaza through crossings while fuel pipeline remains shut down - UN

7 October 2009 – Food and animal feed have entered Gaza from Israel in recent days, but the Nahal Oz fuel pipeline remains closed, the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) has reported.

Yesterday, 69 trucks entered Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, more than half of which were carrying fruit, sugar, dairy products and frozen wheat. On Monday, 80 trucks passed through the crossing, with two carrying industrial diesel for Gaza’s power plant.

Also yesterday, more than 4,000 tons of wheat and animal feed made it through the Karni crossing, which was closed on Monday.

Last month, the UN’s top humanitarian official in the occupied Palestinian territory joined aid agencies in calling for the immediate opening of Gaza’s crossings to allow the entry of spare parts and materials critical to restoring the area’s water and sanitation services.

“The deterioration and breakdown of water and sanitation facilities in Gaza is compounding an already severe and protracted denial of human dignity in the Gaza Strip,” Maxwell Gaylard said in a joint statement issued with the NGO Association for International Development Agencies (AIDA).

Israel’s closure of Gaza’s crossing points, imposed since June 2007, has meant that equipment and supplies needed for the construction, maintenance and operation of water and sanitation facilities have not been able to enter the area, leading to the deterioration of these services.

Currently, some 10,000 people do not have access to the water network, while another 60 per cent of Gaza’s population of 1.5 million do not have continuous access to water.

In addition, some 50 to 80 million litres of untreated and partially treated waste-water have been discharged daily into the Mediterranean Sea since January 2008, due to damage to sewage treatment facilities, lack of treatment capacity because of postponed plant upgrade projects, and a critical shortage of fuel and electricity necessary to operate them.

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