11 July 2006

Secretary-General Appeals for Urgent Action to Alleviate Desperate Humanitarian Situation in Gaza

NEW YORK, 10 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the situation in Gaza, issued in Berlin on 8 July:

As I have repeatedly stated, I am extremely concerned about the dangerous situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  I am appealing for urgent action to alleviate the desperate humanitarian situation of the civilian population.  The Israeli air strikes on Gaza's only power plant have had a far-reaching impact on Gaza's hospitals, flour mills, and water and sanitation systems.  The strict controls imposed during the past weeks on the passage of basic products into Gaza, including fuel, have aggravated the difficulties of the population.  A statement issued earlier today by United Nations humanitarian agencies operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territory provides more details on the situation.

To address shortages of basic foodstuffs, and to maintain essential health and sanitation services, I call on the Government of Israel to restore and maintain the continuous and uninterrupted supply of fuel to Gaza, and to act expeditiously to replace the destroyed equipment at the Gaza power plant.  The passage of foodstuffs and other essential supplies through the Karni commercial crossing should be ensured, and restrictions on movement and access for United Nations agencies should be lifted forthwith.  Such steps should be without prejudice to the need to implement in full the Access and Movement Agreement of 15 November 2005.

I reiterate my appeal to all concerned to exercise maximum restraint and to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.

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