UN Appeals for $613m in Gaza Aid
Assessment, including of Environmental Damage, to be Undertaken to Determine Scale of Reconstrucion Plan
An appeal for $613m to help the UN provide emergency relief and humanitarian aid to 1.4 million war-torn Gazans was launched, Thursday, by UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, in Davos.
According to reports by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the recent Israeli military offensive on Gaza has killed some 1,300 people and left, at least 5,300 wounded, including 1,955 children.
The basic infrastructure - including water, sanitation and health facilities - as well as much of the economic infrastructure have been either destroyed or badly damaged.
Over 13%, of Gazan homes have been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of people have no access to water, sanitation, health care, food supplies.
So far, $80.3 million US Dollars have been raised against the initial appeal of 15 January. Another $532.7 million are yet to be raised to meet the full requirements of the initial relief and recovery efforts.
The Secretary General told reporters, "These needs are massive and multi-faceted". He added that an appeal for longer-term needs will be launched later in the year.
The vulnerability of Gaza's population has been compounded by the eighteen months of restriction on the entry of goods to Gaza. The appeal requires, for full implementation, full access to aid workers into Gaza and the sustained opening of all crossings for relief supplies.
John Holms, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator said, "We're asking for the crossing points to be opened fully... Otherwise, we won't be able to achieve what we want to achieve."
The UN plans to implement seventy three projects in the context of this appeal; and will fund and additional ninety-eight relief and recovery projects to be implemented by non-governmental organizations.
In the meanwhile, the UN is conducting an Early Recovery Rapid Needs Assessment mission on the ground. According to this, a plan for reconstruction will be developed as soon as possible.