Sizing Up the Damage in Gaza
Posted on Jan 19, 2009
Now that the war in Gaza has ground to a halt, local and international groups are assessing the needs of tens of thousands of embattled and displaced Palestinians, some of whom have gone for many days without water or power, and are preparing to send aid as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Israel is apparently pushing to withdraw its troops from Gaza by the time Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th U.S. president on Tuesday.
The BBC’s Bethany Bell in Jerusalem says many people face shortages of food, medicine and fuel.
Mr [John] Ging, director of operations for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa), said most important was how to get basic supplies into Gaza.
“We have a big recovery operation ahead of us, reconstruction—none of it will be possible of course, on any scale, until we get crossing points open,” he told the BBC.
Unrwa was keen to reopen its schools, Mr Ging said, where 50,000 people were sheltering. Tens of thousands have been made homeless by the bombardment.
Big questions remain, our correspondent says, such as who will police Gaza’s southern border with Egypt and how much power Hamas still has.
AP photo / Lefteris Pitarakis
A Palestinian woman salvages some of her family’s belongings from the rubble of their home in Gaza City.