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UN warns Gaza hospitals, sanitation services close to collapsing: report

A Palestinian doctor washes his hands prior to a joint operation with U.S. doctors to help Palestinian boy Abdullah Shawwa, 4, in the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009. Abdullah suffers from a kidney tumor the size of a watermelon and wo
(AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

Hospitals and sanitation services in Gaza will shut down within a week if financial support to buy generator fuel is not secured, the United Nations warned on Saturday, Walla! News reported on Saturday. 

$4.5 million is needed to buy enough generator fuel to avoid a collapse of health and sanitation services, according to Walla!. 

UN Mideast envoy Nickolay Mladenov has reportedly contacted 20 donor countries to provide the money. 

The UN often warns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Israel blames Hamas for the deteriorating situation in the enclave, where lack of electricity, food and water is a part of everyday reality for the 1,8 million people. 

On Friday, the US announced its decision to cut almost $300 million in planned funding for UN’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA, which provides healthcare, education and social service to almost 5 million Palestinians across the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

(AP Photo/Adel Hana)

A statement from the US said UNRWA had became an “irredeemably flawed operation.”

Whilst the US has nixed all funding to the agency, it said that it intended to work alongside other international groups to find a better model to assist the Palestinians.

“We are very mindful of and deeply concerned regarding the impact upon innocent Palestinians, especially school children, of the failure of UNRWA and key members of the regional and international donor community to reform and reset the UNRWA way of doing business,” the White House statement said.

Hamas and Israel are currently negotiating a ceasefire with Egypt and the UN as mediators, but no official agreement has been announced yet.

The details of the cease reportedly include as easing of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades, funding to Gaza from Qatar as well as a sea route from Cyprus to the enclave.

AP Photo/Khalil Hamra

In return, Hamas will stop firing rockets and arson balloons in addition to calling for quiet along the border, which been the center of weekly demonstrations since March 30.

The Israeli defense establishment has advised political leaders to ease the humanitarian situation in Gaza and reach a long term “arrangement” with Hamas in order to prevent what could easily escalate into a full blown military operation in the enclave.

Last month, Haaretz reported that Israel’s Defense Ministry permitted containers carrying equipment for building a large desalination plant as well as eight water reservoirs to enter Gaza.

The report said that several officials from the Israeli military have held meetings to make sure more reservoirs will be built in the enclave in the future.

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