Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Month After Ceasefire, Over 100,000 People Remain Homeless in Gaza

ReliefWeb, Save the Children Alliance, February 16, 2009 - At least 100,000 people, including up to 56,000 children, remain displaced with many continuing to take shelter in tents or crowding into remaining homes with other families, one month since the Gaza ceasefire was declared.

"As hopes for a truce are dashed Save the Children are deeply concerned for all these people dependent on aid for their daily existence and everyone else affected by the conflict", Save the Children UK's chief executive Jasmine Whitbread speaking from Gaza City, said today.

Save the Children is calling on the new Israeli administration, however it is configured, to focus immediate attention on the Gaza crisis and provide free access for humanitarian assistance to aid agencies.

Around 500,000 people including 280,000 children were forced from their homes at some point during the conflict. Where whole neighborhoods were destroyed 'tent cities' have sprung up and are now home to hundreds of people, many without access to clean drinking water and toilets.

"Whole communities have pitched tents so they can be close to the remains of their homes," said Ms Whitbread. "However, the tents are small and offer no protection from the low temperatures at night that can reach less than 7-8 degrees Celsius. There is also not enough clean drinking water, while some camps of up to 40 families have to share only one or two toilets between them. This poses obvious health risks.

"Thousands of children are now living in poor conditions, struggling to keep warm and fed. Many are already severely distressed from having witnessed the fighting and now they are having to cope with losing their homes with little prospect of returning to any sense of normality," Ms Whitbread added....

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