'Pitiful' amount of aid reaching Gaza
Save the Children today estimated that only an eighth of the life-saving supplies of food and medicines needed by the Gazan population have crossed into besieged territory since the Israeli military operation began on December 27. The international aid agency branded the figure ‘pitiful’. Furthermore, Save the Children said that the daily three-hour ceasefire designed to allow aid agencies to deliver what little aid was available, was totally inadequate, severely hampering aid efforts.
The Israeli government said that by the morning of January 12, it had allowed 900 aid trucks to cross into Gaza. According to Save the Children estimates at least 7,200 trucks should have been allowed through to ensure the population had the bare minimum of food, fuel and medicine.
Benedict Dempsey, Save the Children spokesperson in Jerusalem, said: “If the figure of 900 trucks is correct, for every truck the Israeli government says it has allowed through, we say another seven are needed.
“More than a million people in Gaza rely on aid coming in by truck, but so far the amount coming in is nowhere near what is needed. The amount of aid that has crossed into Gaza so far is pitiful.”
Mr Dempsey added that even if sufficient aid were getting through, the daily three-hour ceasefire for delivering the aid was totally inadequate, "Three hours a day is simply not enough to allow us to conduct an aid operation on that scale that is needed. Thousands of people desperately need our help and we can only reach them if we are allowed to operate more freely.”
Save the Children has managed to deliver food aid to nearly 20,000 people, providing them with rations for two weeks. The aid distribution has included deliveries using donkey carts, as no truck drivers were willing to deliver the aid for fear of violence. Save the Children has also delivered medical supplies to hospitals. Most of the aid has been delivered during five separate three-hour ceasefires – but the agency warned that this was not enough.
"What we need urgently is a permanent ceasefire and immediate access into Gaza from all points, so we can get aid straight to all those who need it and save children’s lives” said Mr Dempsey.