11 December 2008 – A slow trickle of humanitarian aid has continued to flow into the Gaza Strip, where 1.5 million residents are forcibly confined, the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reported today.
Close to 100 trucks were able to transport supplies into the impoverished region on the western flank of Israel, of which 21 were delivering provisions for humanitarian agencies.
Although the fleet represented a slight increase from yesterday, the average number of trucks crossing into Gaza in October was 123 per day and in May 2007 the average was some 475 trucks a day.
UNSCO also reported that some industrial fuel made it to the Gaza power station, but most of the territory is still experiencing power cuts of four to eight hours a day despite the plant’s increased output.
For its part, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported that seven of its trucks were able to ship food into Gaza today, including sugar, canned meat and whole milk powder.
Following the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict, UNRWA was established by the General Assembly to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees.
At its annual pledging drive at UN Headquarters in New York yesterday, UNRWA announced that its cash reserves had plummeted from $60 million in 2006 to just $1 million, enough for less than one day’s average expenditure.
Israel closed border crossings into Gaza at the beginning of November citing rocket and other attacks by militants in the area against civilian targets in Israel as the reason.