FRIDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER 2013
Okay, everyone, today my guest is Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. Ms. Amos, as you can see, is joining by video link from Beirut to discuss humanitarian aid in Syria. Right next to her you can see Robert Watkins, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon. Ms. Amos will make some opening remarks and then take some questions. Because her time is fairly brief, we would like any question to be focused on the humanitarian situation in Syria and the region. First, Ms. Amos, welcome.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is very concerned about recent security measures and restrictions on the Rafah crossing and tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip. The restrictions have resulted in delays for students and patients seeking urgent medical treatment, and shortages of construction materials, fuel and medical supplies. Thousands of Palestinians are stranded on both sides of the border.
Local sources indicate that, for the second successive week, fewer than 10 tunnels are operational, compared to around 50 during previous weeks and an estimated 300 before the imposition of the current measures. The crackdown has also caused chronic shortages of fuel. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs calls for the opening of all crossings to legitimate imports and exports and movement of civilians.