Desperate Situation in Southern Iraq & Palestine

3 Apr

According to IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,

“Nearly a million displaced people in Iraq’s increasingly volatile southern provinces are in urgent need of food, medicines and municipal services…”

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimated that at least 310,000 arrived in the Southern provinces due to the 2006 February bombing of a revered Shia shrine in the northern city of Samarra and the increasing escalation of sectarian violence in other parts of the country.

The central government’s slow response, compounded by decreasing aid has resulted in a humanitarian crisis in various areas such as the need for medical aid and access to food.

In Palestine, hunger, food shortage and malnutrition is a growing problem. According to a report from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), one-third of the population in West Bank and Gaza Strip is suffering from food insecurity.

The figures are startling.

About 34 percent of Palestinians cannot afford a balanced meal and another 12 percent are at risk of reaching this state. The situation is most dire in the Gaza Strip, with 51 percent of the population suffering from food insecurity.

The problem has worsened since international sanctions are imposed on the electoral victory of the Hamas government, considered by EU and US, as a terrorist organisation. Prior to that, Gazans have also been refused employment in Israel since the intifada in 2000. Last June, the Israeli military banned movement of fishing boats off the Gazan coast effectively eliminating a source of livelihood for fishermen. Farmers’ access to their land in the West Bank have also been restricted.

The Gaza northern sewage treatment facility, known locally as the “Death Swamps”, has also collapsed killing 5 and injuring 35. This has caused the destroyal of the village of Umm Naser, with a population of about 2000. Sewage will now have to be diverted into other six basins, putting those at risk as well.

==

References:

Electronic Iraq, http://electroniciraq.net/news/2971.shtml
Aid & Development,Close to Million Displaced and Desperate in Southern Ira, 28 March 2007

Electronic Intifada, http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6713.shtml
Development, one-third of Palestinians ‘food insecure’, 22 March 2007

The Australian, http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21461637-2703,00.html
Gaza sewage flood kills 5, March 28, 2007

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