[QODLink]
Middle East
UN: Humanitarian crisis worsening
World body's humanitarian chief contradicts Israeli assertion that there is no crisis.
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2009 02:28 GMT

Holmes said there were fears that the humanitarian situation would further deteriorate [AFP]

The UN has said that there is an "a worsening and an increasingly alarming" humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

John Holmes, the UN humanitarian chief, told reporters on Monday that officials believed as many as 25 per cent of the 548 people killed in the fighting were civilians and that Gaza's health system, overwhelmed by the more than 2,500 injured, was "increasingly precarious".

"This is, in our view, a humanitarian crisis," Holmes said. "It's very hard for me to see any other way you could describe it, given the conditions in which the population are living."

IN DEPTH

Latest news and analysis from Gaza and Israel

Al Jazeera Labs: Report on and track the war

Send us your views and eyewitness videos

Watch our coverage of the war on Gaza
 He also said there were fears that the humanitarian situation would further deteriorate as the strip, home to 1.5 million people, was suffering from acute shortages of fuel, food and medical supplies.

Israeli leaders have maintained that there is no humanitarian crisis for the Palestinians living in the densely populated territory, and that they have been keeping border crossings open and are delivering vital supplies.

Several times last week, Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, denied there was a humanitarian crisis.

She said in Paris on Saturday that Israel had been careful to protect civilians and there was no need for a humanitarian truce, since there was no humanitarian crisis.

Iyad Nasr of the Red Cross in Gaza City said Israel's offensive against Gaza had worsened the hardships created by the Israeli blockade over the last 18 months.

"The size of the operations and the size of the misery we are seeing here on the ground is just overwhelming," he said.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.