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Thursday, 3 September 2009

UN on Israel's Gaza blockade: A 'protracted denial of human dignity'

A top United Nations (UN) official urged Israel to ease its two-year-old blockade of the Gaza Strip on Thursday to allow materials to repair dilapidated water and sanitation systems.

To drive his point home, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory Maxwell Gaylard led his enterouge to the edge of a massive reservoir in Beit Lahiya, north of Gaza City.

“The deterioration and breakdown of water and sanitation facilities in Gaza is compounding an already severe and protracted denial of human dignity in the Gaza Strip,” said Gaylard in a statement sent to reporters.

“At the heart of this crisis is a steep decline in standards of living for the people of Gaza, characterized by erosion of livelihoods, destruction and degradation of basic infrastructure, and a marked downturn in the delivery and quality of vital services in health, water and sanitation,” the UN official said.

The destruction wrought by Israel’s three-week offensive against Gaza last winter exacerbated an already critical situation, leaving some services and facilities on the brink of collapse. More