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Temporary Cease Fires Not Enough for Humanitarian Aid Groups Working in Gaza
Date:1/8/2009

U.S.-Based Alliance of relief organizations offers five action steps to improve response

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite the recent three-hour cease fires to allow the delivery of food and medical supplies to residents of the Palestinian territory, upwards of 750,000 people still lack access to food, clean water and medical help. U.S.-based international humanitarian aid organizations working in the region see this arrangement to allow sporadic delivery of aid as inhumane and insufficient.

Sam Worthington, President & CEO of the U.S.-based alliance of aid groups known as InterAction, says "The aid provided during the short cease fires is just a drop in the bucket when compared to need. Families still able to live in their homes are traumatized after 13 days of intense fighting and fear becoming moving targets in the battle if they leave their homes to seek supplies. Fleeing is unfortunately not an option for the civilian population."

Mercy Corps' team in Jerusalem reports that Israel's new daily three-hour ceasefire to allow aid into the Gaza Strip has not made any noticeable difference. "It hasn't changed our reality," says David Holdridge, Mercy Corps Regional Program Director for the Middle East. "We're still dealing with the same approval processes for aid, and only a limited number of trucks are going in each day - not nearly enough to satisfy the pressing needs for food, shelter, medical supplies and other items."

Hatem Shurrab, an Islamic Relief staffer also working in Gaza and currently writing a daily "Aid Worker Diary" for BBC News, says things are so dire that he "met a mother who was burning paper in order to boil water for her child. She was doing this because she had no milk..."

Gazans are literally trapped in a battle zone. Ken Bacon, President of Refug
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SOURCE InterAction
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