oPt

OPT: CARE International urges open access into Gaza

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West Bank and Gaza, June 18, 2007- CARE International urged both Israel and Hamas to work together to ensure the borders into Gaza are open for goods and services before there is a severe shortage of goods.

CARE said it had growing concern about what will happen to Gaza's civilian population if food stocks cannot be replenished soon, although turmoil from fighting has died down, and electricity, water and telephones are working.

Elizabeth Sime, CARE's country director for the West Bank and Gaza, said: "The humanitarian situation will become critical in the coming week if food, fuel and other essential supplies are not able to enter Gaza."

CARE had to temporarily suspend its work in Gaza on Monday, June 11, but resumed operations on Sunday, June 17. CARE has been providing medicine, and medical equipment, including machines for dialysis to local hospitals. The surge in fighting over the last week exhausted medical supplies in many clinics and hospitals, and CARE is now replenishing them.

CARE's West Bank and Gaza office is also urging donors to be understanding in the current crisis, and to realize that the need for humanitarian assistance is likely to increase in the coming weeks, and it may be increasingly difficult not to have contacts with Hamas, if humanitarian organizations want to bring desperately needed aid to the most vulnerable civilians.