Gaza running out of food

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Gaza running out of food

The closed borders are cutting off the food supply to Gaza.

What is the obligation for Israel to accomodate the government of an avowed enemy?

If Gaza wants Hamas then it surely should be prepared to pay the cost of it. There are the Egyptian border crossings that they can use as well, or their smugglers tunnels.

Looking at Google maps for the Egyptian border there is rail and major road networks right to the border.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip could start running out of flour, rice, edible oil and other commodities in 2-4 weeks unless Israel reopens the border crossings, the United Nations said Wednesday.

Gaza's crossings with border countries Israel and Egypt, including the Rafah Crossings in the south, the Karni commercial passage in the center and the Erez Crossing in the north, have been closed since late last week when Hamas assumed full control over the Strip after five days of fighting with the rival Fatah party.

Concerned Gazans have been stocking up on essentials, fearing the crossings with remain shut. The World Food Program estimates flour prices have risen 40 percent.

Israel plans to cut off all but humanitarian and basic supplies to the coastal strip, home to 1.5 million people, senior Israeli and Western officials said. Most freight passes through the Karni crossing from Israel.

"The re-opening of Karni crossing is vital to prevent general food shortages in 2-4 weeks," the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report.

Seven truckloads of emergency food and three truckloads of medical supplies entered Gaza on Tuesday, and the report said the World Food Program hoped to move 10 truckloads per day into Gaza through one of Israel's main border crossings.

The UN agency which provides emergency food assistance to 850,000 Gaza refugees could run out of wheat flour reserves in 10 days, the report said.

The World Food Program, which provides food assistance to 275,000 people who are not refugees, has seven days' worth of emergency food stocks left in Gaza.

Access to basic food items has become more difficult for the 87 percent of Gazans now living below the poverty line of $2.40 in income per day.

The report said fuel supplies for hospital generators and ambulances will be exhausted within one week unless payments to Israeli providers are ensured.

Western diplomats and aid groups say Israel is trying to find indirect channels in order to coordinate humanitarian issues with the Hamas administration in Gaza.

Israel will not deal with Hamas directly because the group has refused to recognize Israel, renounce violence and abide by interim peace deals.

Earlier Wednesday, senior Fatah official Saeb Erekat told a news conference in Ramallah that Gaza's residents need 450 tons of food each day to have enough in stock to last nine days. The press conference was held after Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas placed Erekat in charge of coordinating the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza with Israel via third parties, including the World Food Program, the World Health Organization and the Red Cross.

Warning of a "catastrophe" in Gaza, he spoke of a "dire" economic situation in the Strip which was becoming "very serious."

He said Gaza needed 11 tons of sugar a day and had enough left for seven days. The Gaza Strip consumes 77 tons of rice, with enough in stock to last eight days and flour was expected to run out in about one week as well.

Hospitals and medical facilities in Gaza meanwhile are also reporting a worsening lack of supplies, with Erekat putting their daily needs at 33 tons of drugs and medical equipment, while the WHO was now supplying only 8 tons daily, or about a quarter of that need.

"We don't have any control over the Rafah, Karni or Erez crossings," Erekat told a news conference in Ramallah. "There is no presence of the Palestinian Authority at any of these crossings," he said, referring to the fact that they were now in the hands of the unrecognized Hamas administration in Gaza.

Israel though has instructed the Israeli Dor Alon company to resume its supply of fuel to the Strip, reducing fears of fuel shortages, while many fresh vegetables, including eggplants, cucumbers and tomatoes, are grown locally and therefore not lacking.
By netchicken: posted on 21-6-2007

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