UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations launched an emergency appeal Thursday for $95 million for Gaza for the next three months to meet immediate humanitarian needs and repairs to key facilities. That includes hospitals, schools, water and sewage facilities and other infrastructure destroyed or damaged during the recent conflict between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers.
Lynn Hastings, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Gaza, urged donors to contribute generously at a virtual news conference launching the appeal, which she said will target one million people for assistance.
“I’m calling for humanitarian assistance right now to meet the immediate needs,” she said.
Hastings said the conflict left 800,000 people without regular access to piped water. Untreated sewage water was being discharged into the sea and 58 education facilities were damaged, including 285 buildings with over 1,000 housing and commercial units destroyed. Six hospitals and 11 health care centers were also damaged, and electricity was down to four to six hours a day.
The $95 million is to meet immediate needs for food, health care, medicine, medical supplies, and quick repairs of some infrastructure, she said, adding that an assessment is under way to determine priority needs.
Hastings said the majority of the money will go to Gaza but some will go to the West Bank and east Jerusalem, mainly to help injured people, possibly with cash assistance, psycho-social help or protection issues.
“We need the immediate life-saving needs moving on to reconstruction and recovery, and ideally with a political horizon in place. That, of course, is the most important thing to stop the continuation of these hostilities,” Hastings stressed.
“All of us need to ensure that we are not repeating the mistakes that keeps bringing us back to having to rebuild Gaza,” she said.
Asked what steps were being taken to ensure that funds donated for the appeal aren’t diverted to Hamas, Hastings said the U.N. has “a very heavy monitoring process in place” and “we’re working on it with the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority to see if it can be improved in any way.”
Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press