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UN McGoldrick urges immediate funding for Gaza

Sept. 5, 2018 3:54 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 6, 2018 3:41 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator to the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, urged on Wednesday immediate funding for emergency fuel to the besieged Gaza Strip to avoid catastrophic breakdown in essential services.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released a statement which said final stocks of emergency fuel will be delivered this week to critical facilities in the Gaza Strip, through the UN-Assisted Emergency Fuel Program.

McGoldrick wrote to the donor community requesting immediate support for the Emergency Fuel Program, which provides life-saving emergency fuel to operate standby emergency power generators at critical health centers, and water and sanitation facilities in the Gaza Strip.

McGoldrick's statement added that funds donated thus far in 2018 have been depleted.

He continued "if new funds are not received immediately, we will be facing a potentially catastrophic breakdown in essential service delivery. Services provided at hospitals, clinics, as well as sewage treatment, water and sanitation facilities will cease. Some hospitals are already within a week of closing. The most vulnerable people of Gaza, who rely on public services, will be the most negatively affected."

Life-saving services in Gaza currently depend on the UN's delivery of emergency fuel, due to an energy crisis that leaves the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, half of whom are children, with only four hours of electricity per day. Based on the current electricity deficit in Gaza, a minimum of $4.5 million is required to sustain these essential services until the end of this year.

"More than 4,800 patients in Gaza daily require access to lifesaving or life-sustaining health care that requires a constant supply of electricity. Of these, at least 300 are connected to life-saving medical machines such as ventilators, dialysis machines, incubators and anesthetic machines, where disruption or electricity cut-out puts patients at immediate risk of brain damage or death."

Without fuel, some 300,000 people will potentially be affected by serious public health concerns as sewage could overflow onto streets. Water and wastewater services are dropping to less than 20 per cent of capacity and water availability is dropping below 50 liters per capita per day, less than half of the minimum requirement according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

McGoldrick concluded that "the situation in Gaza is desperate. We can prevent a further slide into catastrophe by ensuring that essential services continue, but we need the international community to step up immediately with support to do so."

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