Creating people's geographies
Posted at 4:10pm on 03 Aug 2006
The United Nations has called on world leaders not to forget the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, saying it is at least as serious as that in southern Lebanon.
More than 140 people have been killed during Israel’s operations there over the past month, many of them civilians. Delivery of food and other essential items has been reduced to a trickle.
Thirty aid agencies have backed the United Nations’ appeal, with one charity speaking of a sense among aid agencies that Gaza’s population was being terrorised.
Care International told the BBC that Western nations had failed to put pressure on Israel to rein in its actions and that attention was being focused on Lebanon at the expense of the situation in the Gaza Strip.
According to the UN, Israel fires around 150 shells into the tiny territory every day in a bid to stop Palestinian militants who fire an average of 10 rockets across the border.
Israel says it needs to target civilian areas because that is where militants base themselves but aid organisations say Gaza’s population of 1.4 million is living in perpetual fear.
Regular air strikes
Several nights a week the noise of Israeli helicopters vibrates over Gaza followed by the sudden explosion of air strikes.
Israel has begun dropping leaflets and leaving telephone messages warning residents not to stay near militant homes but aid organisations say such measures leave people terrified and with nowhere safe to go.
The UN is currently sheltering 1,000 people in schools in Gaza. Many others have moved in with relations. Aid agencies are also calling on Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.
Some 150 trucks carrying food and essential supplies are currently crossing the border each day but according to Care International this is only just enough to stop the population from starving.
It says to keep people from being hungry and to restore food security Israel needs to increase this to 400.
Since Israel bombed the power station, homes are often without clean water or electricity. Health officials say they are worried about the possible spread of disease.
Copyright © 2006 Radio New Zealand