Thursday, October 01, 2009

Poverty triples in the Gaza strip

Behind the blockade, the Palestinian people have seen a tripling of poverty within the West Bank. The United Nations says that 1 in 5 Palestinians are in poverty, or 300,000 total.

From this Associated Press article that we found at MSN money we learn more about the humanitarian situation behind walls.

Gaza's economy has foundered under an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade imposed after the Islamic militant group Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007 from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

John Ging, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency's top official in Gaza, called the rise in poverty a "predictable consequence" of the border blockade.

"The suffering, the impoverishment, the misery of the people here in Gaza continues to rise because of a man-made crisis, a political failure," Ging told reporters.

The blockade's toll on Gaza residents was compounded by Israel's winter offensive in the strip that aimed to stop Palestinian rocket fire at southern Israel. Thousands of homes, government buildings and businesses were destroyed during the Israeli campaign.

U.N. staff said the rise also reflects improved monitoring of refugees' economic conditions.

The U.N. agency provides services, including emergency food rations, to 750,000 of Gaza's 1.4 million residents. Those who are unable to feed their families are considered "abject poor" and receive extra aid, the agency said.

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