Disaster Looming for Gaza’s Refugees

UM AN-NASIR, Gaza Strip, JUNE 14, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Caritas is warning of the humanitarian disaster generated by the conflict between Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, where reports say 80% of the 1 million refugees are “totally aid dependent.”

The United Nations, in a joint statement from U.N. organizations working in the area, echoed the concern of Caritas workers. The statement said: “U.N. organizations are particularly troubled by reports of attacks on hospitals, ambulances and extrajudicial killings, which raise concerns of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

A Caritas statement told of a flood of sewage water that destroyed the village of Um An-Nasir in northern Gaza.

Six-year-old Ayman Al Braq described his experience: “I saw the sea of dirty water filling the area and there was our house. Sewage water was everywhere. … My family and I were crying. The village was a sea. Wherever I looked at the village, I saw sewage water and the smell was unbearable. We realized that we had lost everything.”

Aid workers in the area are calling on parties engaged in the conflict to respect international humanitarian and human rights laws. They also urge Israel and Palestinians to facilitate access to the Gaza Strip, both for aid workers and supplies.