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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Gaza emergency appeal launched


British aid agencies are launching an emergency appeal for people affected by the conflict in Gaza.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) said: “After four weeks of terrible fighting… over half a million people have been forced from their homes.
More than 1,800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, mainly soldiers, have died in the conflict.
The DEC said its member charities were “rapidly increasing” the assistance provided during the current ceasefire.

‘Huge needs’
The umbrella organisation, which brings together 13 UK aid charities to deal with international crises, said donations were already being accepted through its website and using a 24-hour phone line.
Israel has offered to extend the three-day ceasefire which began on Tuesday after nearly a month of conflict, but unconfirmed reports suggest Hamas has not agreed.
It launched Operation Protective Edge on 8 July with the stated aim of ending rocket attacks from Gaza, and on 17 July, it began ground operations intended to destroy tunnels used by militants to infiltrate Israel.
The DEC will broadcast an emergency appeal on the major television networks on Friday.
Medical supplies are running out, the DEC said
DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “After four weeks of terrible fighting Gaza is on the edge. Over half a million people have been forced from their homes, and one and a half million have no or very limited access to water or sanitation.
“Many people are living in terribly overcrowded UN shelters, but they still need food and basic household items which we take for granted. Many are in urgent need of medical care, but hospital supplies are almost finished.
“Even before the conflict began, the people of Gaza were close to breaking point. Now we are seeing a humanitarian emergency affecting virtually every man, woman and child in Gaza.
“The DEC’s member agencies and their partners are on the ground but they need funds to meet the huge needs. They are relying on the generosity of the British people to make a difference.”
‘Intolerable’
The DEC said some agencies had worked through the fighting, while others had responded during lulls in the conflict.
Oxfam is already delivering safe water to up to 175,000 people per day and British Red Cross partners are supporting emergency medical services, it said.
Meanwhile, Downing Street has said a review of arms export licences to Israel is under way. The Liberal Democrats have called for them to be suspended.
Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi resigned over the government’s stance on the conflict, calling it “morally indefensible”.
Prime Minister David Cameron has said the situation in Gaza is “intolerable”.
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