Nappies and spaghetti: the challenges of getting aid into Gaza

Written by Michael Bailey (Oxfam GB)

Published 9th April 2009

Source: Reuters AlertNet


This is an interesting post that discusses the challenges of getting aid into Gaza, the siege on Gaza and the dependency of Gazans on humanitarian aid. Here are some excerpts:

I am here with 13 colleagues from the humanitarian community, three middle ranking Israeli soldiers and the manager of the Kerem Shalom crossing which is located at the meeting point of the Gaza Strip, Israel and Egyptian borders. We are 20 adults earnestly discussing baby nappies and the security significance of pasta.

Meanwhile, inside Gaza, 8,000 families are waiting for the materials to rebuild the homes that were destroyed nearly three months ago.

The Israeli government closed the Karni crossing in June 2007 after Hamas took control of Gaza. Since then all of Gaza’s supplies have been rerouted forty kilometres further south through Kerem Shalom.

Every piece of humanitarian aid has been loaded onto a pallet, wrapped in plastic and labelled before it can begin its journey.

Items have been unloaded from one truck onto the ground then loaded onto the shuttle truck and unloaded again. Towards the end of the day it will be picked up a third time to be finally loaded onto a Palestinian truck to be taken into Gaza.

The crossing manager’s wall reveals one further feature of Kerem Shalom’s armoury against smuggling and bombs.

If there is one [list of banned and allowed products] it seems we shall not be getting a copy. We shall continue to do our best, each of us in our own sterile compartment, drip-feeding 1.5 million people who are suspended in dependency while we wait for the policy to change so that they can take care of themselves.

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