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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
2 February 2009

United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs


(New York, 2 February 2009): The United Nations and its partners today launched an appeal for $613 million to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of 1.4m people in Gaza affected by the recent 23-day Israeli military operation.

“Immediate needs and essential repairs in Gaza are very large following the hostilities. They require a combined, coordinated response from international and national humanitarian agencies, and this means rapid resources,” said John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC). “For this response to succeed, we first need to see a durable ceasefire in Gaza, but just as important, we need much freer access for humanitarian goods and staff. The crossings into Gaza must be opened on a sustainable basis, including for commercial goods,” he said. “The continued economic strangulation is simply counter-productive,” Mr. Holmes added.

The Flash Appeal includes projects that will immediately save lives, and others that will ensure essential repairs of key infrastructure to cover the period until recovery and reconstruction activities can begin. Some 106 projects by non-governmental organizations and 82 UN projects are included. It includes direct relief to save lives and avert irrecoverable harm, and includes $153 million for food security; $119 million for shelter items and non-food items; $92 million for cash for work and cash assistance programmes as it is very important to inject some immediate relief and purchasing power to the Palestinians who suffered from this conflict; $46 million for health, to put back together the health sector; $30 million for agriculture; $25 million for water, sanitation and hygiene; and $5.5 million to deal with protection from unexploded ordnance and protection for children and monitoring of human rights abuses. The Appeal builds upon, and supersedes, the Initial Response Plan issued on 15 January, which received $82 million in funding of the $117 million requested for urgent humanitarian action.

“Although the fighting has stopped in Gaza, the difficult task of rebuilding peoples’ lives and recovering from the devastation is only just beginning,” said Mr. Holmes. “I urge that the outpouring of sympathy and generosity we saw during the fighting be converted into flexible financial support for this appeal and these vital projects.”

For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892
1679,; Nicholas Reader +1 212 963 4961, mobile +1 646 752 3117,, John Nyaga,
OCHA-NY, + 1 917 367 9262,; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473
4570, OCHA press releases are available at or

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