HIGHLIGHTS OF THE BRIEFING BY MICHELE MONTAS SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK
– A landmine clearance group working with the UN’s Mine Action Service has noted that a number of large aircraft bombs and white phosphorous projectiles have been gathered in an area inside Gaza City. But the de-miners say they will not know the true scale of the problem until more debris is cleared. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that teams have been collecting unexploded ordnance in Gaza City. But due to restrictions on supplies crossing into Gaza, they do not have the materials necessary to destroy or isolate the ordnance.
– Meanwhile, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that over 14,000 homes were totally or partially damaged in the recent fighting. In an effort to meet the long-term shelter needs of the displaced, UNDP will see that 10,000 families get between 1,000 and 5,000 dollars in cash aid, according to family size, current socio-economic status and level of home damage.
– UNDP also says that, of the more than 400 schools that it assessed in Gaza, over 60 percent had been partly or severely damaged. Repairing damaged schools remains an urgent priority, UNDP says. In the meantime, UNICEF has provided ten tents as learning spaces in the hardest-hit areas.
– OCHA also reports that aid workers continue to face difficulty in obtaining access to Gaza through the Erez crossing. During January, for example, only 18 out of 178 staff requests were granted clearance.
– Asked where aid workers have been stuck, the Spokeswoman said much of the problem was on the Israeli side. At the same time, she stressed, efforts are underway to secure their movement.
SHAHRUL PESHAWAR – Humanitarian Workers should be really careful, especially those who are not trained in “post-war” situation. NGO’s and personnel coming to Gaza and Palestine should spend time reading articles on this and do some homework to identify and get the idea of how the thing (landmine) looks like. Do not risk your staff with landmine and uxo. Providing them with insurance is not going to protect them from the worst scenario.