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UN aid supply to continue in Gaza

Latest update : 2008-05-05

The UN Works and Relief Agency received supplies of fuel to continue aid operations in the Palestinian territory. The agency almost suspended aid due to fuel shortages caused by an Israeli blockade. UN spokesperson Chris Gunness spoke to FRANCE 24.

The UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees said it was "back from the brink" on Monday after new fuel supplies allowed the continuation of aid deliveries it had been set to suspend in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The UN Works and Relief Agency on Monday received 200,000 litres (52,631 gallons) of diesel and 20,000 litres of petrol, which should be sufficient for 20 days of aid operations in the Palestinian territory, said UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness.

The agency said earlier that fuel shortages caused by an Israeli blockade would force the suspension on Monday of aid a majority of Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants rely on to survive.

"We have managed to pull back from the brink, but it is entirely unacceptable that a humanitarian and human resources organisation like UNRWA should have been pushed to the brink in the first place," Gunness told AFP.

"But the bigger picture is not about UNRWA, it's about the human face of the suffering of the people of Gaza," he said.

Israel slapped a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip after the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in the territory in June, and allows only a minimum of basic supplies into the impoverished strip of land.

The Nahal Oz terminal on the Israeli border through which virtually all of Gaza's fuel is delivered has been shut down several times in recent weeks following attacks by Gaza militants.

UNRWA had earlier stopped its aid deliveries for four days, resuming operations on April 29 after receiving several days' worth of fuel.

Date created : 2008-05-05