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Gaza: UN envoy calls on Israel to ease restrictions on movement of goods, people

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hastings speaks during a press conference at the UN compound in Gaza City on 23 May 2021. [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hastings speaks during a press conference at the UN compound in Gaza City on 23 May 2021. [EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images]

Briefing the United Nations (UN) Security Council on the Middle East on Wednesday, Lynn Hastings, the deputy special coordinator for the Middle East process, stated: "Damages in Gaza (resulting from the Israeli offensive) are estimated at between $290-380 million, while economic losses may reach nearly $200 million."

In her briefing, a copy of which was sent to MEMO, she added: "The social sector was hit hardest, significantly weakening the safety net of the most vulnerable."

The UN official continued: "The immediate and short-term recovery and reconstruction needs are estimated between $345-485 million."

Hastings affirmed that the UN and its partners stand ready to implement urgently needed recovery and reconstruction initiatives in coordination with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities, Egypt, Qatar and other regional and international partners.

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After the resumption of fuel entry to the Gaza power plant, she explained: "Electricity supply [for Gazans] is now roughly 14 hours per day, critical for Gaza and its residents."

Hastings told the Security Council: "It is essential that Israel implements additional measures to allow unhindered entry of all humanitarian assistance, including materials to implement the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan and the Flash Appeal."

She stressed: "Without regular and predictable entry of goods into Gaza, the capacity of the UN and our partners to deliver critical interventions is at risk, as are the provision of basic services, the livelihoods of people and the wider Gaza economy."

Meanwhile, she reiterated: "Israel should ease restrictions on the movement of goods and people to and from Gaza, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1860 (2009), with the goal of ultimately lifting them."

Concluding her speech on Gaza, she asserted: "While urgent humanitarian interventions can provide crucial relief in the short-term, any sustainable future in Gaza requires political solutions."

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