Monday, 9 December 2013

Gaza families visit jailed relatives in Israel

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Family members of Gaza prisoners held in Israeli jails on Monday left the Gaza Strip to Israel via Erez crossing to visit 51 prisoners in Rimon prison, a Red Cross spokesman said.

Amjad Najjar told Ma’an that 94 relatives of prisoners including 23 children below 10 left via Erez early Monday. Travel procedures went smoothly without major impediments, he added.

The Israeli authorities had allowed Gaza families to visit their jailed relatives in Israel in July 2012 for the first time since 2007. The move came after Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody staged a long hunger strike. more

Israeli forces open fire at farmers near Khan Yunis

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Sunday opened fire toward Palestinian farmers in the southern Gaza Strip, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma'an that soldiers shot at the farmers near Khan Younis refugee camp from a watchtower at the border between Israel and Gaza.

No injuries were reported. more

WHO concerned over humanitarian health crisis in Gaza

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The World Health Organization on Sunday expressed concern over a humanitarian health crisis in the Gaza Strip, as the health infrastructure struggles to cope with severe shortages in basic supplies.

"The accumulation of shortages in basic supplies in Gaza is leading to rapid deterioration in the social determinants of health for the population of 1.7 million Palestinians," WHO said.

Over 30 percent of medicines and 50 percent of medical disposables are out of stock in Gaza, and large generators used to power hospitals during 14-hour power cuts have frequent breakdowns.

One of the two generators powering the Gaza European hospital burned out last month, WHO said.

In recent months, government hospitals in Gaza have reduced non-urgent surgery by almost 50 percent to conserve fuel and medical supplies for cases of emergency.

Power shortages also directly and indirectly affect the health of Gazans, as water supplies are reduced, sewage pumps fail to operate and ground transportation for solid waste removal becomes less frequent.

"The severe and prolonged shortages of fuel, electricity and medicines along with widespread poverty stem from 6 years of tight restrictions into and out of Gaza's borders for people and goods," WHO said. more