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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
18 December 2008
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York
PRESS CONFERENCE BY UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS
At a Headquarters press conference today, the top United Nations humanitarian official announced the launch of a global advocacy campaign to raise awareness about what he termed “the displacement crisis” and the plight of internally displaced persons, as well as the need to better support them.
Asked about the situation in Gaza, he said that it had been worrisome for many months and was becoming more so every day. Today’s announcement by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), that they had suspended food aid because of the lack of flour, was only the latest symptom of that. What he feared was not only the short-term effects of continuing blockade by the Israeli authorities in response to continuing rockets, but also the cumulative effects of deprivation on the population. That was why the Secretary-General had appealed so strongly, as he had done at the Quartet meeting, in Israel to allow regular and significant-scale supplies into Gaza.
While the situation was becoming more worrying, “all we can do is appeal again to the Israeli authorities not to punish the people of Gaza for the crimes of those who are sending the rockets, and appeal to those who are sending the rockets to stop, because what they are doing appears to pay no heed whatsoever to the welfare of the citizens of Gaza”.
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For information media • not an official record