UN underscores Gaza blockade impact and health needs one year after ceasefire
25 August 2015 GAZA: A delegation of UN agencies made a media field tour in Gaza to draw attention to the continuing challenges for residents across all sectors as they try to rebuild lives and livelihoods one year after the ceasefire which ended the 51-day summer war.
Mr Robert Piper, Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, said "The blockade is having a devastating impact on Gaza. [And] it’s not clear by any means that the blockade is making Israel safer today,” he said.
Speaking at the site of a destroyed hospital, al Wafa, and a damaged centre for children with Down syndrome, Right to Life, Dr Gerald Rockenschaub, the WHO Head of Office, pointed out the challenges of providing continuing services in the health sector: shortages in staff, essential medicines and medical supplies, electricity and fuel, and unreliable supply of food and cleaning services, especially in the aftermath of the war. “Without the permanent lifting of the blockade, and reintegration of the West Bank and Gaza, there can be no hope for the development of quality health services, with well-trained personnel and adequately furnished and stocked health facilities,” he said.
Just prior to last year’s war, the Ministry of Health and WHO issued a joint appeal for international intervention to prevent the health system from collapsing. The emergency conditions of the war in Gaza prompted a response of significant health assistance to Gaza but now international efforts are considered crucial in solving the chronic problems affecting Gaza, and particularly health, as a basic need for human security.