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Palestine | International

Gazans Eke Out Living in Rubbish Dumps
by IOL (reposted)
Sunday Dec 21st, 2008 11:11 AM
With basics are hard to find in the overcrowded sliver of land, Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip are eking out living in rubbish dumps to survive Israel's chocking siege, reported The Observer on Sunday, December 21.
"It is the first time we have been seeing people picking through the rubbish like this looking for things to eat," said Chris Gunness of the UN relief agency UNRWA.

"Things are particularly bad in Gaza City where the population is most dense."

Israel has closed Gaza's exits to the outside world since Hamas took control of the strip last year, banning food and fuel shipments to the 1.6 million Palestinians there.

The closures left 51.8 percent of Gaza population live below the poverty line, according to UNRWA estimates.

The people in the seaside strip also live without electricity, water and sewage services for up to 16 hours a day.

"Things have been getting worse and worse," said Gunnes.

"Because Gaza is now operating as a 'tunnel economy' and there is so little coming through via Israeli crossings, it is hitting the most disadvantaged worst."

The UN official warned that the Israeli siege was also causing the spread of communicable diseases as the water and sewerage systems have not been maintained properly because of lack of spare parts.

"This is not a humanitarian crisis," Gunnes said.

"This is a political crisis of choice with dire humanitarian consequences."

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